BTEX is the commonly used term for a group of toxic compounds (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, ortho-xylene and meta- and para-xylene), some of which, most notably benzene, are known carcinogens. The aim of this study is to measure the BTEX levels both inside and outside the homes of 352 one-year old children from the Valencia cohort of the INMA study (Spain) and to analyze the determinants of these levels. Passive samplers were used to measure BTEX levels during a 15day period and a questionnaire was administered to gather information on potentially associated factors (sociodemographics, residential conditions, and lifestyle). The average concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, ortho-xylene, and meta- and para-xylene were 0.9, 3.6, 0.6, 0.6, and 1.0μg/m(3), respectively. On average, the indoor levels of all the compounds were approximately 2.5 times higher than those observed outdoors. Factors associated with higher BTEX concentrations inside the home were being the child of a mother of non-Spanish origin, living in a house that had been painted within the last year, living in an apartment, and not having air conditioning. Higher outdoor concentrations of BTEX depend on the residence being situated in a more urban zone, being located within the city limits, having living in a building with more than one story, residing in an area with a greater frequency of traffic, and the season of the year in which the sample was taken. The data thus obtained provide helpful information not only for implementing measures to reduce exposure to these pollutants, but also for evaluating the relation between such exposure and possible health risks for the children in the cohort.
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