Main content area

Health risk assessment of toxic VOCs species for the coal fire well drillers

Yan, Yulong, Peng, Lin, Cheng, Na, Bai, Huiling, Mu, Ling
Environmental science and pollution research international 2015 v.22 no.19 pp. 15132-15144
BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), Monte Carlo method, bags, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, coal, exposure assessment, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, isopropyl alcohol, polytetrafluoroethylene, risk, toluene, toxicity, volatile organic compounds, xylene, China
In this study, the health risk of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) species for well drillers, working at an exposure site around a well of underground coal fire site, was presented in a case of Shanxi province. The samples were collected by Teflon sampling bags and measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The results showed that isopropyl alcohol was the most abundant compound of VOCs, with the geometric mean concentrations of 1700.38 μg/m³. The geometric mean concentrations of individual BTEX compounds obtained in all of the sampling campaign were 131.64, 10.15, 15.53, and 25.38 μg/m³ for benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene, and xylenes, respectively. Relative proportion of BTEX averaged as 8.5:0.7:1:1.6. High B/T ratio (13.0) and low T/E ratio (0.7) was observed in this study. For non-cancer risk in this study, the hazardous quotient (HQ) of 1,2-dibromoethane, 1,3-butadiene, and benzene was 17.91, 1.71, and 43.88, respectively, mean their non-cancer risk was at the level of definite concern. The HQ sum of 20 VOCs was 64.94, much higher than 1. The cancer risk values of benzene (7.01E-04), 1,2-dibromoethane (1.91E-04), carbon tetrachloride (1.55E-04), and 1,3-butadiene (1.09E-04) were greater than 10⁻⁴, indicating that they were all definite risk. The total cancer risk of all VOCs species was 1.39E-03, almost 14 times more than the level of definite risk. The stochastic exposure assessment of all VOCs species total cancer risk using the Monte Carlo simulation analysis shows that 5 and 95 % cancer risks were predicted to be 7.60E-04 and 2.75E-03, respectively. The cancer risk for all VOCs species is unacceptable. The results of sensitivity analysis show that benzene, carbon tetrachloride, and 1,3-butadiene exposure account for more than 98 % contributions to the estimated risk for drillers, indicating that those VOCs species exposure has greater impact than other species on risk assessment. Both combined effects and independent effects of each VOCs species have to be considered.