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Inhalation exposure and related health risks of BTEX in ambient air at different microenvironments of a terai zone in north India

Masih, Amit, Lall, Anurag S., Taneja, Ajay, Singhvi, Raj
Atmospheric environment 2016 v.147 pp. 55-66
BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), adverse effects, agitation, air, atmospheric chemistry, benzene, carbon disulfide, ethylbenzene, gas chromatography, greenhouse effect, human health, inhalation exposure, monsoon season, neoplasms, public health, risk, risk assessment, summer, toluene, toxicity, winter, xylene, India
BTEX are recognized for their contribution as toxic and carcinogenic human health effects, and enhancement of the global greenhouse effect. Thus, an investigation of ambient BTEX was conducted at selected locations in Gorakhpur for a span of one year in order to ascertain the contagion levels. The concentrations of BTEX were measured at four locations in the city of Gorakhpur, which covers residential, agricultural, roadside and industrial areas with the help of low volume sampler. The samples were extracted with carbon disulphide by occasional agitation and the aromatic fraction was subjected to GC-FID. The average concentration of total BTEX in all samples was 50.8 μg/m³ and the total range was from 10.9 μg/m³ to 208.1 μg/m³ with the median of 44.8 μg/m³. The BTEX concentrations were found to be 27.8, 35.9, 65.6 and 68.6 μg/m³ at residential, agricultural, roadside and industrial sites respectively. The maximum concentration of total BTEX was found to be 61.9 μg/m³ in winter season, followed by 47.9 μg/m³ in summer and 42.7 μg/m³ in monsoon season. The industrial site (35%) had the highest BTEX contribution followed by roadside (33%), agricultural (18%) and residential site (14%). The concentration of BTEX decreased in the order toluene > benzene > ethylbenzene > xylene. The integrated lifetime cancer risk for benzene at all sites, and ethylbenzene at roadside area was found to be higher than the acceptable value and ranges between 1.0E-05 and 7.6E-06, although the non-cancer health risk was found to be within acceptable limit along all the sites. Risk assessment can be used as a tool to ascertain influence on public health and also to encourage risk preclusion approaches directed towards effectual reduction of adverse health effects.