Spatial and temporal trends of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in a rural area of northern Spain

Sci Total Environ. 2006 Oct 15;370(1):157-67. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2006.06.022. Epub 2006 Aug 8.


Ambient concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were measured at 40 rural sampling points in Navarre (northern Spain). Air samples were collected by means of sorbent passive sampling and analyzed by thermal desorption (TD) and gas chromatography/mass-selective detector (GC/MSD). A total of 140 VOCs were identified during the study, which was carried out between May to October 2004 for a total of a 10 biweekly sampling campaigns. Concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, m/p-xylenes, o-xylene (BTEX) and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene were determined in order to investigate their temporal and spatial distributions. Geostatistical analysis pointed to traffic as the main emission source of these compounds. Supporting this idea, BTEX and nitrogen oxides concentrations were found to be highly significantly correlated (r = 0.495, P = 0.001), whereas a strong negative correlation between BTEX and ozone was also observed (r = -0.355, P = 0.025). The concentrations for the BTEX group were similar to the values that have been previously reported for other rural areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air / analysis*
  • Air / standards
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis*
  • Rural Health
  • Spain
  • Volatilization


  • Air Pollutants
  • Organic Chemicals