Analysis of Benzene Exposure Levels on Commuters Traveling within the Metropolitan Area of Costa Rica


This study reports the benzene exposure levels of commuters traveling within the metropolitan area of Costa Rica using personal cars, buses, and urban trains. 47 in-vehicle samples were collected in the 2014 wet season under three different driving conditions: rush hour traffic, normal traffic and weekends. Samples were collected in Tedlar bags and analyzed using 75 μm carboxenpolydimethylsiloxane (CAR/PDMS) and gas chromatography with flame ionization detection (GC-FID). Additionally, duplicate samples were collected on adsorption tubes filled with Tenax TA and analyzed by thermal desorption (TD) and GC-FID. Results indicate that travelling in cars and buses under rush hour conditions exposes commuters to statistically equal average benzene concentration of 48.7 and 51.6 μg/m3, respectively. Average benzene levels in urban trains (33.0 μg/m3) were measured only during morning rush hours. Greater benzene levels in buses than personal cars concentrations may be attributable to the immersion of traffic-related emission within the bus cabins. Factors, such as the driving pattern, the number of vehicles on the route, the road infrastructure, and the prevalence of gasoline-fueled vehicles in Costa Rica, may increase ambient benzene concentrations. Benzene levels inside car cabins reported in this study are in the range of those reported in other urban areas; however, the corresponding concentrations inside buses and urban trains (rush hour only) are higher than previously published exposure levels.

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Villalobos-Gonzalez, W. , Esquivel-Hernandez, G. , Sanchez-Murillo, R. , Corrales-Salazar, J. and Valdes-Gonzalez, J. (2015) Analysis of Benzene Exposure Levels on Commuters Traveling within the Metropolitan Area of Costa Rica. Open Journal of Air Pollution, 4, 38-46. doi: 10.4236/ojap.2015.41005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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