Distribution of Total Volatile Organic Compounds at taxi drivers in Tehran

Seyyed Mohammad Javad Golhosseini, Hossein Kakooei, Seyyed Jamaleddin Shahtaheri, Mansour Rezazadeh Azari, Kamal Azam


Air pollution is currently the most serious environmental health threat worldwide. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are considered as the main effective factors in causing air pollution. Vehicles are among the major sources which emit these compounds, so it seems that automobiles’ microenvironment is one of the places where people are exposed to high concentration of VOC. Evaluating the exposure amount of Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC) can indeed be used as an indicator to estimate the amount of exposure to every individual VOC. This study was conducted on the concentration of TVOC inside Tehran taxies for a period of one year. For this purpose, a real time instrument equipped with photo-ionization detector (PID) was used. Consequently, the highest and the lowest measured TVOC in taxies equaled 3.33 ppm and 0.72 ppm, respectively. In addition, the arithmetic mean of TVOC concentration was 1.77±0.53 ppm inside the examined taxies. In this study, the parameters like measurement time, climate and vehicle conditions were found to have significant effect on the amount of exposure to TVOC.


TVOC, Taxi driver, Tehran, Occupational Exposure

Full Text:



Bajpayee M, Dhawan A. Biomarkers for Monitoring Adverse Health Effects of Air Pollution in Humans. Journal of Translational Toxicology. 2014; 1(1):46-51.

Li W, Wang C, Wang H, Chen J, Yuan C, Li T, Wang W, Shen H, Huang Y, Wang R, Wang B, Zhang Y, Chen H, Chen Y, Tang J, Wang X, Liu J, Coveney Jr RM, Tao S. Distribution of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) in rural field, rural village and urban areas of northern China. Environmental Pollution. 2014; 185(0):134-40.

Rabee A. Estimating the health risks associated with air pollution in Baghdad City, Iraq. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 2014; 187(1):1-12.

WHO. 7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution 2014. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/.

Han X, Naeher LP. A review of traffic-related air pollution exposure assessment studies in the developing world. Environment International. 2006; 32(1):106-20.

Boeglin ML, Wessels D, Henshel D. An investigation of the relationship between air emissions of volatile organic compounds and the incidence of cancer in Indiana counties. Environmental Research. 2006; 100(2):242-54.

Bernstein JA, Alexis N, Bacchus H, Bernstein IL, Fritz P, Horner E, Li N, Mason S, Nel A, Oullette J. The health effects of nonindustrial indoor air pollution. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2008; 121(3):585-91.

Curtis L, Rea W, Smith-Willis P, Fenyves E, Pan Y. Adverse health effects of outdoor air pollutants. Environment International. 2006; 32(6):815-30.

Finkelstein MM, Jerrett M, Sears MR. Traffic air pollution and mortality rate advancement periods. american Journal of epidemiology. 2004; 160(2):173-77.

Adgate JL, Church TR, Ryan AD, Ramachandran G, Fredrickson AL, Stock TH, Morandi MT, Sexton K. Outdoor, indoor, and personal exposure to VOCs in children. Environmental health perspectives. 2004; 112(14):1386-92.

Kongtip P, Thongsuk W, Yoosook W, Chantanakul S. Health effects of metropolitan traffic-related air pollutants on street vendors. Atmospheric Environment. 2006; 40(37):7138-45.

Nurmatov U, Tagieva N, Semple S, Devereux G, Sheikh A. Volatile organic compounds and risk of asthma and allergy: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational and interventional studies. Primary care respiratory journal: journal of the General Practice Airways Group. 2013; 22(1):9-15.

Azizi MH. Impact of traffic-related air pollution on public health: a real challenge. Archives of Iranian Medicine. 2011; 14(2):139-43.

Smith TW, Axon CJ, Darton RC. The impact on human health of car-related air pollution in the UK, 1995–2005. Atmospheric Environment. 2013; 77(0):260-66.

Villeneuve PJ, Jerrett M, Brenner D, Su J, Chen H, McLaughlin JR. A Case-Control Study of Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Volatile Organic Compounds and Lung Cancer in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2014; 179(4):443-51.

Molhave L, Clausen G, Berglund B, De Ceaurriz J, Kettrup A, Lindvall T, Maroni M, Pickering AC, Risse U, Rothweiler H, Seifert B, Younes M. Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC) in Indoor Air Quality Investigations*. Indoor Air. 1997; 7(4):225-40.

Corazzini R, Goncalves G, Bonetti T, Garcia DM, Fonseca FLA, Carvalho C. Effect of exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on inflammatory response in gas station attendant. The FASEB Journal. 2013; 27(1_MeetingAbstracts):lb190.

Kumar Padhy P, Varshney CK. Total non-methane volatile organic compounds (TNMVOC) in the atmosphere of Delhi. Atmospheric Environment. 2000; 34(4):577-84.

Ling ZH, Guo H. Contribution of VOC sources to photochemical ozone formation and its control policy implication in Hong Kong. Environmental Science & Policy. 2014; 38(0):180-91.

Ras MR, Marcé RM, Borrull F. Characterization of ozone precursor volatile organic compounds in urban atmospheres and around the petrochemical industry in the Tarragona region. Science of The Total Environment. 2009; 407(14):4312-19.

Kansal A. Sources and reactivity of NMHCs and VOCs in the atmosphere: A review. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2009; 166(1):17-26.

Asadollah-Fardi G. Air Quality Management in Tehran. As of June. 2008; 19. Available from: http://faculty.mu.edu.sa/public/uploads/1338155607.6028air-59.pdf.

Zhang K, Batterman S. Air pollution and health risks due to vehicle traffic. Science of The Total Environment. 2013; 450–451(0):307-16.

Krzyzanowski M, Kuna-Dibbert B, Schneider J. Health effects of transport-related air pollution. Copenhagen, Denmark: World Health Organization; 2005.

Dudzinska MR. Volatile organic compounds in Private cars and Public Vehicles. Annual Set The Environment Protection (Rocznik Ochrona Srodowiska). 2011; 13:101-116. Available from: http://ros.edu.pl/text/pp_2011_005.pdf

Golhosseini MJ, Kakooei H, Shahtaheri SJ, Azam K, Panahi D. Occupational Exposure to Carbon Monoxide of Taxi Drivers in Tehran, Iran. IJOH. 2011; 3(2):56-62.

Jo W-K, Park K-H. Commuter exposure to volatile organic compounds under different driving conditions. Atmospheric Environment. 1999; 33(3):409-17.

Jo WK, Yu CH. Public bus and taxicab drivers' exposure to aromatic work-time volatile organic compounds. Environmental Research. 2001; 86(1):66-72.

Chan LY, Lau WL, Wang XM, Tang JH. Preliminary measurements of aromatic VOCs in public transportation modes in Guangzhou, China. Environ Int. 2003; 29(4):429-35.

Lai HK, Kendall M, Ferrier H, Lindup I, Alm S, Hanninen O, Jantunen M, Mathys P, Colvile R, Ashmore MR, Cullinan P, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ. Personal exposures and microenvironment concentrations of PM2.5, VOC, NO2 and CO in Oxford, UK. Atmospheric Environment. 2004; 38(37):6399-10.

Ongwandee M, Chavalparit O. Commuter exposure to BTEX in public transportation modes in Bangkok, Thailand. Journal of Environmental Sciences. 2010; 22(3):397-04.

Do DH, Van Langenhove H, Chigbo SI, Amare AN, Demeestere K, Walgraeve C. Exposure to volatile organic compounds: Comparison among different transportation modes. Atmospheric Environment. 2014; 94(0):53-62.

Schupp T, Bolt HM, Jaeckh R, Hengstler JG. Benzene and its methyl-derivatives: derivation of maximum exposure levels in automobiles. Toxicology letters. 2006; 160(2):93-04.

Wang DKW, Austin CC. Determination of complex mixtures of volatile organic compounds in ambient air: an overview. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 2006; 386(4):1089-98.

Guo H, Lee SC, Chan LY, Li WM. Risk assessment of exposure to volatile organic compounds in different indoor environments. Environmental Research. 2004; 94(1):57-66.

Iran-SCI SCo. Population and households in the cities of the country based on the Population and Housing census results (in farsi) 2011. Available from: http://www.amar.org.ir/Portals/2/pdf/jamiat_shahrestan_keshvar3.pdf.

Tehran-Municipality. Atlas of Tehran metropolis 2012. Available from: http://atlas.tehran.ir.

TCTTS. Tehran Comprehensive Transportation and Traffic Co .Statistics 2010. Available from: http://tctts.com/Editor/upload/Documents/pishkhan1389.pdf.

IONScience. FirstCheck 4000 & 6000 Ex User Manual V2.7 - Advanced Gas Sensing Technologies: ION Science; 2009. Available from: http://www.ionscience.com/assets/files/manuals/FirstCheck%20Manual%20V2.7.pdf.

Golhosseini MJ, Kakooei H, Shahtaheri SJ, Azari MR, Azam K. Evaluation of Volatile Organic Compounds Levels inside Taxis Passing through Main Streets of Tehran. International Journal of Occupational Hygiene. 2013; 5(4):152-58.

EPA U. An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Last updated on 7/9/2012. Available from: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html.

Hosseinlou MH, Massahi A. Developing Pollutant Emission Models for Private Car and Taxi in Tehran. 2012. Available from: http://psrcentre.org/images/extraimages/0112438.pdf.

Atash F. The deterioration of urban environments in developing countries: Mitigating the air pollution crisis in Tehran, Iran. Cities. 2007; 24(6):399-09.

Shakouri N, Baris E. The Effect of Green Infrastructure in Mitigating Air Pollution in Urban Area, Case Study Tehran-Iran. Journal of Selcuk University Natural and Applied Science. 2013; 727-37.

Costagliola MA, Murena F, Prati MV. Exhaust emissions of volatile organic compounds of powered two-wheelers: Effect of cold start and vehicle speed. Contribution to greenhouse effect and tropospheric ozone formation. Science of The Total Environment. 2014; 468–469(0):1043-49.

Zagury E, Le Moullec Y, Momas I. Exposure of Paris taxi drivers to automobile air pollutants within their vehicles. Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2000; 57(6):406-10.

Bahrami A, Jafari A, Ahmadi H, Mahjub H. Comparison of benzene exposure in drivers and petrol stations workers by urinary trans, trans-muconic acid in west of Iran. Ind Health. 2007 45(3):396-01.

Hsu D-J, Huang H-L. Concentrations of volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter in buses on highways in Taiwan. Atmospheric Environment. 2009; 43(36):5723-30.

Fedoruk MJ, Kerger BD. Measurement of volatile organic compounds inside automobiles†. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. 2003; 13(1):31-41.

Balanay JA, Lungu CT. Exposure of jeepney drivers in Manila, Philippines, to selected volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Ind Health. 2009; 47(1):33-42.

Bahrami AR. Distribution of volatile organic compounds in ambient air of Tehran. Archives of Environmental Health: An International Journal. 2001; 56(4):380-83.

Iranian Journal of Health, Safety and Environment e-ISSN: :2345-5535 Iran university of Medical sciences, Tehran, Iran