Cancer Risk Assessment Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylene (BTEX) in the Production of Insulation Bituminous

Document Type : Research Article


Graduate Faculty of Environmental, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene and Xylene are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with approximately similar physical and chemical characteristics. Benzene and Ethyl-benzene are known carcinogen as well as they affect the circulatory, nervous, and reproductive and respiratory systems. Toluene and Xylene also damage the nervous and reproductive systems. The main purpose of this study is to determine the risk of occupational exposure to Benzene and toluene compounds among Isogam Bituminous production units which were selected randomly in Delijan and also to calculate the quantitative rate of cancer and non-cancer risks of these compounds. In this empirical and analytical study, in ten Isogam Bituminous production units (of the suburbs and downtown) which are selected randomly. The quality of the air that the workers breathe is collected at three times; in the morning, at noon and at night at which at one of time in each Isogam Bituminous production unit. Air samples are gathered based on standard of NIOSH 3800 by a sampling pump manufactured by SKC Co. England with a flow rate of 0.3 liters per minute. These samples are transported to the laboratory and analyzed by gas chromatograph with Flame Ionization Detector (FID). The cancer risk for workers exposed to Benzene is calculated in the range of 8.15×10-7 and a quantitative non-cancer risk value for Toluene is also calculated in the range of 0.000176 . Coccupational exposure of workers at Isogam Bituminous production units to Benzene, Toluene compounds might increase the risk of cancer for them.


Atabi, F., Moattar, F., Mansouri, N., Alesheikh, A. A. and Mirzahosseini, S. A. H. (2013). Assessment of variations in benzene concentration produced from vehicles and gas stations in Tehran using GIS. Int J Environ Sci Technol, 10(2), 283-294.
Atash, F. (2007). The deterioration of urban environments in developing countries: Mitigating the air pollution crisis in Tehran, Iran. Cities, 24(6), 399-409.
Atkinson, R. and Arey, J. (2003). Atmospheric degradation of volatile organic compounds. Chem Rev, 103(12), 4605-4638.
Bahrami, A. R. (2001). Distribution of volatile organic compounds in ambient air of Tehran. Arch Environ Health: Int J, 56(4), 380-383.
Bart, O. (2004). Outdoor air pollution: assessing the environmental burden of disease at national and local levels. In Environmental burden of disease series (Vol. 5). World Health Organization.
Chen, R., Pan, G., Kan, H., Tan, J., Song, W., Wu, Z., Xu, X., Xu, Q., Jiang, C. and Chen, B. (2010). Ambient Air Pollution and Daily Mortality in Anshan, China: A Time-Stratified Case-Crossover Analysis. The Science of the total environment 408(24): 6086–91.
Hassani, A. and Hosseini, V. (2016). An assessment of gasoline motorcycle emissions performance and understanding their contribution to Tehran air pollution. Transportation Research Part D: Transport Environ, 47, 1-12.
Hosseinloo, H. M. and Ghaemi, A. (2014). Study of the Effects of Heavy Vehicles on the Flow of Urban Traffic Network and Emission Based on Traffic Simulation. Transport Eng, 5(4), 471-484 (In Persian).
Wu, Y., Fang, G., Chen, J., Lin, C., Huang, S., Rau, J. ad Lin, J. (2006). Ambient Air Particulate Dry Deposition, Concentrations and Metallic Elements at Taichung Harbor near Taiwan Strait. Atmospheric Research 79(1): 52–66.
Xu, L., Chen, X., Chen, J. Zhang, F., He, C., Zhao, J. and Yin, L. (2012). Seasonal Variations and Chemical Compositions of PM2.5 Aerosol in the Urban Area of Fuzhou, China. Atmospheric Research 104-105: 264–72.
Zou, B., Wilson, J. G., Zhan, F. B., Zeng, Y. and Wu, K. (2011). Spatial-Temporal Variations in Regional Ambient Sulfur Dioxide Concentration and Source-Contribution Analysis: A Dispersion Modeling Approach. Atmospheric Environment 45(28): 4977–85.
Zhuang, P., McBride, M.B., Xia, H., Li, N. and Li, Z., (2009a). Health risk from heavy metals via consumption of food crops in the vicinity of Dabaoshan mine, South China. Science of the Total Environment 407, 1551-1561.
Zhuang, P., Zou, B., Li, N.Y. and Li, Z.A., (2009b). Heavy metal contamination in soils and food crops around Dabaoshan mine in Guangdong, China: implication for human health. Environmental Geochemistry and Health 31, 707-715.
Garg, A. (2011). Pro-Equity Effects of Ancillary Benefits of Climate Change Policies: A Case Study of Human Health Impacts of Outdoor Air Pollution in New Delhi. World Development 39(6): 1002–25.
Glikson, M., Rutherford, S. and Simpson, R.W. (1995). Microscopic and submicron components of atmospheric particulate matter during high asthma periods in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Atmospheric Environment, 29, 549-562.
Grimm, N.B., Faeth, S.H., Golubiewski, N.E. and Redman, C.L. (2008). Global change and the ecology of cities. Science, 319, 756-760.
Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) (2005). USEPA (Electronic data base). Web link:
Jafari, H. R. and Ebrahimi, S. (2007). A study on risk assessment of benzene as one of the VOCs air pollution. Int J Environ Res, 1(3): 214-217.
Lee, S., Chiu, M., Ho, K., Zou, S. and Wang, X. (2002) Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in urban atmosphere of Hong Kong. Chemos, 48(3): 375–382.
Li, H., Qian, X. and Wang, Q. (2013). Heavy metals in atmospheric particulate matter: comprehensive understanding is needed for monitoring and risk mitigation. Environ. Sci. Technol. 47, 13210–13211.
Liu, X., Song, Q., Tang, Y., Li, W., Xu, J., Wu, J. and Brookes, P. C. (2013). Human health risk assessment of heavy metals in soil-vegetable system: A multi-medium analysis. Science of the Total Environment, 463-464, 530–540.
Ma, J. and Singhirunnusorn, W. (2012). Distribution and Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Surface Dusts of Maha Sarakham Municipality. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 50(July), 280–293.
Monod, A., Sive, B. C., Avino, P., Chen, T., Blake, D. R. and Rowland, F. S. (2001). Monoaromatic compounds in ambient air of various cities: a focus on correlations between the xylenes and ethylbenzene. Atmos Environ, 35(1), 135-149.
Nelson, P. F. and Quigley, S. M. (1982). Nonmethane hydrocarbons in the atmosphere of Sydney, Australia. Environ Sci Technol, 16(10), 650-655.
Rinsky, R. A., Young, R. J., and Smith, A. B. (1981). Leukemia in benzene workers. Am J Ind Med, 2(3), 217-245.
Kerbachi, R., Boughedaoui, M., Bounoua, L. and Keddam, M. (2006). Ambient air pollution by aromatic hydrocarbons in Algiers. Atmos Environ, 40(21), 3995-4003.
Shafiepor, M. and Kamalan, H (2005). Air quality deterioration in Tehran due to motorcycles, Iran J Environ Health Sci Eng, 2(3), 145-152.
Singh, K. P., Gupta, S., Kumar, A. and Shukla, S. P. (2012). Linear and Nonlinear Modeling Approaches for Urban Air Quality Prediction. The Science of the total environment, 426: 244–55.
Singh, K. P., Gupta, S. and Rai, P. (2013). Identifying Pollution Sources and Predicting Urban Air Quality Using Ensemble Learning Methods. Atmospheric Environment 80: 426–37.
Tervahattu, H., Kupiainen, K.J. and Raisanen, M. (2006). Generation of urban road dust from anti-skid and asphalt concrete aggregates. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 132, 39-46