Temporal and spatial distribution of BTEX pollutants in the atmosphere of metropolitan areas and neighbouring towns
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Atmospheric BTEX [benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, o-xylene and (m + p)-xylene] concentrations have been determined in the Naples metropolitan area (NMA) and in two suburban areas located on the north within about 25 km, during 2006. The pollutants were collected by passive samplers (24-h samplings), and analysed by GC-MS. In all the areas analysed the average atmospheric benzene concentrations were higher than the limit value fixed by the European Union for 2010 and in NMA the average concentration (9.8 μg m-) also exceeded the limit fixed for 2006. High linear correlation coefficients between the average daily concentrations of the different BTEX are indicative of a single major source, most likely the vehicular traffic. The temporal and spatial distribution of BTEX relative concentrations suggest that massive emissions in NMA negatively affect the quality of the air in northern suburban areas, prevalently during the hottest months of the year, probably due to transport by local seasonal winds. The ratios between BTEX daily concentrations showed a clear dependence on the intensity of solar actinic flow, indicating a major role of photochemical processes in the air cleaning from these volatile organic pollutants.
KeywordsAtmospheric BTEX Photochemical processes Suburban area Passive samplers Vehicular traffic
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