Inderscience Publishers

Ambient air quality levels in Tehran, Iran, from 1988 to 1993

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The objectives of this study were to describe trends in ambient air quality in Tehran between 1988 and 1993, to determine if these levels exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, and to discuss possible health effects related to exposure for these particular pollutants. Data were acquired from Iran's Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Ministry of Health (MH). These agencies operate five automated ambient air monitoring stations located in areas with heavy traffic. Daily samples of SO2, NO2, CO, total suspended particulate matter (TSM), and hydrocarbons (HC) were collected to provide 24 hour averages for each pollutant. Every three months, mean concentrations were reported to IEPA. Composite samples from all five stations were stored in a databank operated by IEPA. The ambient air quality guidelines were obtained from WHO reports. Statistical analysis was carried out using a regression model, which was designed to fit the air pollution data and take into account missing data. The results showed that there was a statistically significant upward trend in air pollution levels for all of the measured pollutants, except NO2, during the years 1988 to 1993. WHO guidelines were routinely and substantially exceeded by all pollutants except TSM. These findings suggest that as the population continues to grow, and increasing numbers of motor vehicles are driven in Tehran, there is concern for the health effects that may result from exposure to these pollutants.

Keywords: air quality, ambient air pollutants, Tehran air quality, urban air pollution, Iran

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