Special Issue: Progress and prospects of atmospheric environmental sciences in China

Pollution characteristics and health risk assessment of benzene homologues in ambient air in the northeastern urban area of Beijing, China

Lei Li , Hong Li* , Xinmin Zhang , Li Wang , Linghong Xu , Xuezhong Wang , Yanting Yu , Yujie Zhang , Guan Cao


Received ,Revised , Accepted , Available online January 09, 2014

Volume 26,2014,Pages 214-223

Ambient benzene homologues were measured at a site in the northeastern urban area of Beijing, China, from August 24 to September 4, 2012 by SUMMA canister sampling followed by laboratory determination using cryogenic cold trap pre-concentration-GC-MS/FID, and their health risks were also assessed. Daily total benzene homologues ranged from 0.99 to 49.71μg/m3 with an average of 11.98 μg/m3. Benzene homologues showed higher concentrations in the morning and evening than that at noontime. Comparison with previous studies revealed a trend of decrease for ambient benzene homologues probably due to the effective emission control in Beijing in recent years. Vehicular exhaust was the main source while volatilization of paints and solvents also made substantial contributions. Health risk assessment showed that BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, o-xylene, m-xylene and p-xylene) and styrene had no appreciable adverse non-cancer health risks for the exposed population, while benzene has potential cancer risk of 1.34E-05. Available data from cities in China all implied that benzene imposes relatively higher cancer risk on the exposed populations and therefore strict control measures should be taken to further lower ambient benzene levels in China.

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