Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX) are well known hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) due to their human health risks and photochemical effects. The main objective of this study was to estimate BTEX levels and evaluate interspecies ratios and ozone formation potentials (OFP) in the ambient air of urban Kuala Lumpur (KL) based on a passive sampling method with a Tenax® GR adsorbent tube. Analysis of BTEX was performed using a thermal desorption (TD)-gas chromatography mass spectrometer (GCMS). OFP was calculated based on the Maximum Incremental Reactivity (MIR). Results from this study showed that the average total BTEX during the sampling period was 66.06 ± 2.39 μg/m3. Toluene (27.70 ± 0.97 μg/m3) was the highest, followed by m,p-xylene (13.87 ± 0.36 μg/m3), o-xylene (11.49 ± 0.39 μg/m3), ethylbenzene (8.46 ± 0.34 μg/m3) and benzene (3.86 ± 0.31 μg/m3). The ratio of toluene to benzene (T:B) is > 7, suggesting that VOCs in the Kuala Lumpur urban environment are influenced by vehicle emissions and other anthropogenic sources. The average of ozone formation potential (OFP) value from BTEX was 278.42 ± 74.64 μg/m3 with toluene and xylenes being the major contributors to OFP. This study also indicated that the average of benzene concentration in KL was slightly lower than the European Union (EU)-recommended health limit value for benzene of 5 μg/m3 annual exposure.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.