BTEX is an acronym for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene,
and xylene. This group of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
is found in petroleum hydrocarbons, such as gasoline, and
other common environmental contaminants.
They have log Kow values in the range of 2 - 3,20 and are medium
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water-soluble, and they are therefore rather mobile in
soil and groundwater. They are also relatively volatile
having Henry´s law constants in the range of 0,50 – 0,80 kPa*m3/mole,
which is some cases might cause indoor climate problems.
Some of them, especially benzene, are biodegraded very
slowly under strictly anaerobic conditions, and they are
sometimes found far downstream to the source. Since benzene
is also known as a human carcinogen, this group of compounds
has attracted much attention and concern over the years,
and in most countries contaminated sites in suspicion of
containing BTEX are high on the remediation priority list.