Indicator air

Benzene immissions

Benzene is a carcinogenic air pollutant, and at high concentrations it can also affect the eyes, the respiratory tract and the central nervous system. For such pollutants, no limit level has been determined, below which a health hazard no longer exists. In view of this, the presence of benzene in the air we breathe is undesirable.

Benzene is primarily produced through the burning and evaporation of engine fuels and combustibles. The main sources are motorised transport, filling stations, furnaces and heating systems, and tobacco smoke.  

Assessment of the state
poor poor
Assessment of the trend
positive positive
pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2017: 0.233916666666667 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2016: 0.2547 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2015: 0.26 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2014: 0.296 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2013: 0.39 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2012: 0.3445 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2011: 0.35 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2010: 0.5096 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2009: 0.4226 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2008: 0.49 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2007: 0.4593 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2006: 0.6135 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2005: 0.7199 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2004: 0.569 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2003: 0.716 pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp) 2002: 0.5949 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2018: 0.491 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2017: 0.524916666666667 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2016: 0.5713 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2015: 0.71 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2014: 0.634 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2013: 0.813 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2012: 0.8135 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2011: 0.9092 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2010: 0.9429 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2009: 1.0637 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2008: 1.0918 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2007: 1.0878 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2006: 1.4492 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2005: 1.1473 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2004: 0.8518 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2003: 1.1867 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2002: 1.4786 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2001: 1.5197 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 2000: 1.9479 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 1999: 2.8871 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 1998: 2.6937 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 1997: 3.6445 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 1996: 3.7731 suburban (Dübendorf-Empa) 1995: 4.1541 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2017: 0.618666666666667 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2016: 0.7748 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2015: 0.715 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2014: 0.721 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2013: 0.88 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2012: 0.9634 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2011: 0.9825 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2010: 1.04 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2009: 1.0041 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2008: 1.046 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2007: 1.0908 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2006: 1.3902 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2005: 1.2824 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2004: 1.33 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2003: 1.8229 urban (Zürich-Kaserne) 2002: 1.5696 urban, heavy traffic (Bern-Bollwerk) 2018: 0.776 urban, heavy traffic (Bern-Bollwerk) 2017: 0.8195 urban, heavy traffic (Bern-Bollwerk) 2016: 1.0388 urban, heavy traffic (Bern-Bollwerk) 2015: 1.328 urban, heavy traffic (Bern-Bollwerk) 2014: 1.21 urban, heavy traffic (Bern-Bollwerk) 2013: 1.17 urban, heavy traffic (Bern-Bollwerk) 2012: 1.2569

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: FOEN
Comment

In the past few years, benzene immissions have decreased, primarily as a result of the reduction of the maximum permissible benzene content in engine fuels and vapour recovery at filling stations and tank depots. Nonetheless, the present-day level of benzene pollution is too high and represents a cancer risk for the population that is greater than the tolerable level specified by the Federal Commission for Air Hygiene. Emissions from combustion processes and the evaporation of fuels and combustibles therefore have to be further reduced.

International comparison

EU member states also measure benzene immissions and produce corresponding indicators. The levels of benzene are lower in Switzerland than in some parts of its neighbouring countrie.

Method

The current status and development of air pollution throughout Switzerland are measured and recorded by the National Air Pollution Monitoring Network (NABEL), which is jointly operated by the FOEN and EMPA (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology). It comprises 16 measurement stations distributed throughout the country, which provide data relating to all the most important pollution situations. For the assessment of benzene immissions, data are collected from NABEL stations with permanent measurement cycles.

Basis for assessment of the trend
Targeted trend Initial value Final value Variation in % Observed trend Assessment
Decrease (1) Average 2011-2013, (2) Average 2001-2003, (3) Average 1995-1997, (4) Average 2001-2003 (1) Average 2016-2018, (2) Average 2015-2017, (3) Average 2016-2018, (4) Average 2015-2017 (1) -31.40%, (2) -60.14%, (3) -86.28%, (4) -60.07% (1) Decrease, (2) Decrease, (3) Decrease, (4) Decrease positive
(1) urban, heavy traffic (Bern-Bollwerk), (2) urban (Zürich-Kaserne), (3) suburban (Dübendorf-Empa), (4) pre-alpine/Jura range (Rigi-Seebodenalp)
 
Last updated on: 06.06.2019

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