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Airborne volatile organic compounds in urban and industrial locations in four developing countries

Do, Duc Hoai, Walgraeve, Christophe, Amare, Abebech Nuguse, Barai, Krishna Rani, Parao, Amelia Estigoy, Demeestere, Kristof, van Langenhove, Herman
Atmospheric environment 2015 v.119 pp. 330-338
air, air pollution, arithmetics, atmospheric chemistry, cities, developing countries, ozone, pollutants, risk, volatile organic compounds, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Philippines, Vietnam
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) represent an important class of air pollutants, however their concentration levels in developing countries have scarcely been reported in literature. Therefore, concentration levels of 60 VOCs were determined at 27 urban and industrial locations in seven different cities in Ethiopia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Bangladesh between 2011 and 2014. Active sampling using Tenax TA as a sorbent was employed followed by TD-GC-MS analysis using internal standard calibration. It was found that TVOCs concentration levels in Dhaka, Bangladesh (arithmetic mean: 343 and 399 μg/m3 for urban and industrial campaign, respectively) were more than 10 times higher when compared to TVOCs levels observed in Mekelle, Ethiopia. ∑BTEX concentration at street sites ranges from 36 μg/m3 in Mekelle, to 100 and 250 μg/m3 in Hanoi, Vietnam and Dhaka, Bangladesh, respectively. The indoor to outdoor concentration ratios were found to be dependent on the country, type of environment, VOC compound and outdoor reference location. The highest Ozone Formation Potential (OFP, 2150 μg/m3), calculated from the same set of seven aromatic VOCs, was obtained at the street site in Dhaka. This OFP value is a factor three and four times higher than the OFP value observed at the street sites in Hanoi, and Manila, respectively. Finally, the Cumulative Cancer Risk (CCR) calculated for four carcinogenic VOCs ranged from 97 × 10−6 in urban Mekelle to 299 × 10−6 in urban Dhaka. This work provides for the first time comparisons of CCR in urban and industrial environments in the selected developing countries.