A comprehensive study on spatio-temporal distribution, health risk assessment and ozone formation potential of BTEX emissions in ambient air of Delhi, India

Sci Total Environ. 2019 Apr 1:659:1090-1099. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.12.426. Epub 2018 Dec 29.


The hazardous air pollutants like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX) are considered as toxic because of their role in ozone formation and adverse effects on human health. Owing to this, the present study was carried out at six spatially distributed sites in Delhi from November 2017- June 2018. Activated charcoal tubes were used to collect samples of BTEX and were further analyzed using GC-FID. The minimum BTEX concentration was found at institutional site (9.94 μg/m3) and maximum at roadside site (103.12 μg/m3) with the average of 46.66 μg/m3. Also, the levels of BTEX were 1.18-1.74 times higher during rush hours as compared to non-rush hours. The high T/B ratio (2.26-3.41) observed is the indication of the traffic-originated sources of emission. The cancer risks calculated for benzene at probability 0.50 ranged as 1.29E-06 - 1.80E-05, whereas 4.09E-06 - 3.40E-05 at probability 0.95, which were higher than the acceptable value of 1.0E-06. The non-cancer health risks in terms of hazard index were observed less than unity i.e. within acceptable limit. The total ozone formation potential (OFP) was obtained as 207.51 ± 123.40 μg/m3 with maximum potential by toluene. Such high levels of BTEX, cancer risks and OFP obtained in the study especially at roadside and connectivity hub are harmful for people residing near these areas, and also to large commuters, who are exposed to such emissions during travelling.

Keywords: Ambient air; BTEX; Cancer risk; Hazard quotient; Health risks; Ozone formation potential.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Benzene / analysis
  • Benzene Derivatives / analysis
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Humans
  • India
  • Ozone / analysis*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Seasons
  • Toluene / analysis
  • Xylenes / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Benzene Derivatives
  • Xylenes
  • Toluene
  • Ozone
  • Benzene
  • ethylbenzene