ISSN: 0970-938X (Print) | 0976-1683 (Electronic)

Biomedical Research

An International Journal of Medical Sciences


Pollution characteristics and health risk assessment of atmospheric VOCs in the pharmaceutical enterprises

Owing to rapid economic and industrial development, China has been suffering from degraded air quality and visibility. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are important precursors to the formation of ground-level ozone and hence photochemical smog. To investigate the impact of VOCs produced in concentrated areas of pharmaceutical enterprises on environment and human health, 168 samples were collected at 8 sites around the concentrated areas of pharmaceutical enterprises. The content of VOCs was determined by prethickening-GC-MS method, and the health risk assessment model of United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was used to evaluate the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) pollution in the concentrated areas of pharmaceutical enterprises. The results showed that the total of 32 substances were detected in concentrated areas of pharmaceutical enterprises, and concentration of Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC) was 2.04 mg•m-3. Among them, the proportion of aromatic hydrocarbons and ketones were higher, respectively accounting for 43% and 28%; most VOCs concentrations were ten times or 100 times the background value. The 19 detected VOCs which had health hazards did not pose a significant non-carcinogenic health risk to humans; but 5 kinds of VOCs such as 1, 3- butadiene, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, benzene and 1, 1, 2-, methyl chloroform, etc. have carcinogenic health hazard to human body. The cumulative carcinogenic risk index of total VOCs was much higher than the acceptable quantity level, indicating that the VOCs emitted from concentrated areas of pharmaceutical enterprises was the main cause of carcinogenic health damage to human body.

Author(s): Xie Chen, Lei Ma, Min Zhao
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