Noor Fatihah Mohamad Fandi1, Juliana Jalaludin This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, 2, Mohd Talib Latif3, Haris Hafizal Abd Hamid3, Mohd Fairus Awang1

1 Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
2 Department of Occupational Health and Safety, Faculty of Public Health, Universitas Airlangga, 60115 Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia
3 Department of Earth Sciences and Environment, Faculty Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Received: November 12, 2019
Revised: June 10, 2020
Accepted: June 18, 2020

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

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Cite this article:

Fandi, N. F. M., Jalaludin, J., Latif, M. T., Hamid, H. H. A. and Awang, M. F. (2020). BTEX Exposure Assessment and Inhalation Health Risks to Traffic Policemen in the Klang Valley Region, Malaysia. Aerosol Air Qual. Res.


  • Personal exposure to toluene was highest among the outdoor traffic policemen.
  • T/B ratio value shows vehicle emissions are the main source of BTEX.
  • CR value of benzene and ethylbenzene at 95th percentile exceeded acceptable limit.
  • Exposure duration and BTEX concentrations had influenced on the estimated risks.
  • RPE with organic vapor and particle cartridge is effective in reducing cancer risk.


Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, m,p-xylene, and o-xylene (BTEX) in ambient urban air have the ability to cause chronic health effects, particularly among urban workers. The aims of this study are to evaluate BTEX concentrations and conduct health risk assessments focusing on urban traffic policemen while they are controlling traffic flow and undertaking law enforcement. Personal air samples were taken using low-flow personal samplers during their outdoor work shifts. BTEX were analyzed using GC-MS coupled with thermal desorption. A probabilistic approach for cancer risks (CR) and hazard quotients (HQ) were determined using a Monte Carlo simulation technique, and a sensitivity analysis was performed to examine parameters that contribute the most to the estimated risks. Personal samples showed the average total BTEX concentration was 211.83 µg m-³. The highest average individual compound value was toluene (89.08 µg m-³) followed by m,p-xylene (37.25 µg m-³), o-xylene (35.80 µg m-³), benzene (25.82 µg m-³), and ethylbenzene (23.89 µg m-3). On average, CR value for benzene (5.31×10-6) and 95th percentile of CR for benzene and ethylbenzene (1.70×10-5, 2.12×10-6) exceeded the acceptable level of 1.0×10-6. HQ values were lower than one for all BTEX species. Sensitivity analyses showed that the most contributor parameter in increasing the estimated CR and HQ was exposure duration, followed by BTEX concentrations. The estimated CR suggests that the prolonged benzene and ethylbenzene exposure experienced by traffic policemen placed them at higher risk to adverse health effects. Regulatory attention including the selection of well-suited respiratory protective equipment is sought by providing baseline data to ascertain the occupational population who encounter an additional “on the road exposure” to BTEX are in a safe working environment.

Keywords: BTEX; Urban traffic policemen; Health risk assessment; Sensitivity analysis; Klang Valley

Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20:-. 

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