Benzene exposure and the effect of traffic pollution in Copenhagen, Denmark

15 Novembre 2019

Skov, H., Hansen, A.B., Lorenzen, G., Andersen, H.V., Løfstrøm, P., Christensen, C.S.

Atmospheric Environment, 2001, 35(14), 2463-2471.

Benzene is a carcinogenic compound, which is emitted from petrol-fuelled cars and thus is found ubiquitous in all cities. As part of the project Monitoring of Atmospheric Concentrations of Benzene in European Towns and Homes (MACBETH) six campaigns were carried out in the Municipality of Copenhagen, Denmark. The campaigns were distributed over 1 year. In each campaign, the personal exposure to benzene of 50 volunteers (non-smokers living in non-smoking families) living and working in Copenhagen was measured. Simultaneously, benzene was measured in their homes and in an urban network distributed over the municipality. The Radiello diffusive sampler was applied to sample 5 days averages of benzene and other hydrocarbons. Comparison of the results with those from a BTX-monitor showed excellent agreement. The exposure and the concentrations in homes and in the urban area were found to be close to log-normal distribution. The annual averages of the geometrical mean values were 5.22, 4.30 and 2.90 μg·m−3 for personal exposure, home concentrations and urban concentrations, respectively. Two main parameters are controlling the general level of benzene in Copenhagen: firstly, the emission from traffic and secondly, dispersion due to wind speed. The general level of exposure to benzene and home concentrations of benzene were strongly correlated with the outdoor level of benzene, which indicated that traffic is an important source for indoor concentrations of benzene and for the exposure to benzene.