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Environ Health Perspect. 1996 Dec; 104(Suppl 6): 1137–1140.
PMCID: PMC1469725
Research Article

Geographical distribution of benzene in air in northwestern Italy and personal exposure.


Benzene is a solvent strictly related to some industrial activities and to automotive emissions. After the reduction in lead content of fuel gasoline, and the consequent decrease in octane number, an increase in benzene and other aromatic hydrocarbons in gasoline occurred. Therefore, an increase in the concentration of these chemicals in the air as primary pollutants and as precursors of photochemical smog could occur in the future. The objectives of this study were to describe the benzene air pollution at three sites in northwestern Italy throughout 1991 and 1994; to examine the relationship between benzene air pollution in indoor, outdoor, and personal air as measured by a group of nonsmoking university students; and to determine the influence of environmental tobacco smoke on the level of benzene exposure in indoor air environments. The results indicate a direct relationship between population density and levels of contamination; an indoor/outdoor ratio of benzene air pollution higher than 1 during day and night; a similar level of personal and indoor air contamination; and a direct relationship between levels of personal exposure to benzene and intensity of exposure to tobacco smoke. Human exposure to airborne benzene has been found to depend principally on indoor air contamination not only in the home but also in many other confined environments.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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