On the nature and health impacts of BTEX in a populated middle eastern city: Tehran, Iran

Faranak Golkhorshidi, Armin Sorooshian, Ahmad Jonidi Jafari, Abbas Norouzian Baghani, Majid Kermani, Roshanak Rezaei Kalantary, Qadir Ashournejad, Mahdieh Delikhoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


This study describes a spatio-temporal characterization of concentrations of BTEX in ambient air of four hot spots (bus terminals) in the megacity of Tehran. Monte Carlo simulations were performed to evaluate cancer risk and non-cancer risk owing to BTEX exposure in three age groups (<6, 6 to <21 and 21 to <81 years). The average toluene to benzene ratios for the four intercity bus terminals were 2.63 (summer) and 2.88 (winter). Furthermore, the mean xylenes to benzene and ethylbenzene to benzene ratios in the two seasons for all stations ranged from 3.33 to 4.40 (summer) and 2.13–2.80 (winter), respectively. There was insignificant difference in BTEX levels between working and non-working days owing to the lack of change in vehicular traffic during the full week. Factors promoting BTEX formation in the study region were fuel evaporation, gas stations, diesel bus emissions, and a lack of hydroxyl radicals ([rad]OH) for reacting with the target compounds. Calculations suggested that cancer risk for benzene and ethylbenzene in three age groups at the four bus terminals exceeded values recommended by U. S. EPA. In addition, the hazard quotient for BTEX in both seasons for different age groups ranged between 1.23 × 10 −5 and 3.58 × 10 −1 , values of which were lower than reference levels. Carcinogenic emissions such as with benzene and ethylbenzene discharged by bus terminals impact the growing population in the study region, which requires additional action to reduce health effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)921-930
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Pollution Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2019


  • BTEX
  • Bus terminal
  • Cancer risk
  • Carcinogenic
  • Hazard quotient
  • Working and non-working days

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Atmospheric Science


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