Ambient concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were measured using passive sampling technique at 49 sampling points in Kocaeli, an important industrial city in Turkey. Air samples were analyzed using thermal desorption (TD) and gas chromatography/flame ionization detectors (FID). Concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, m/p-xylenes, and o-xylene (BTEX), 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene, n-propylbenzene, 3-ethyltoluene, and 4-ethyltoluene were investigated to determine their spatial distribution and source apportionment. Concentrations of Sigma BTEX ranged from 3.7 to 335.5 mu g/m(3). Among all the VOC species, m/p-xylene and toluene have the highest concentration. The spatial distributions for BTEX concentrations showed characteristic patterns: high concentrations were typically found along major roads, city centres, and near industrial plants. Pollution sources potentially affecting concentrations were identified using statistical analyses. The results of factor analysis indicated that vehicle exhaust and industrial activity were the predominant emission sources of the VOCs. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.