Author(s): Fenske JD, Paulson SE
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Abstract The medical community has long recognized that humans exhale volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Several studies have quantified emissions of VOCs from human breath, with values ranging widely due to variation between and within individuals. The authors have measured human breath concentrations of isoprene and pentane. The major VOCs in the breath of healthy individuals are isoprene (12-580 ppb), acetone (1.2-1,880 ppb), ethanol (13-1,000 ppb), methanol (160-2,000 ppb) and other alcohols. In this study, we give a brief summary of VOC measurements in human breath and discuss their implications for indoor concentrations of these compounds, their contributions to regional and global emissions budgets, and potential ambient air sampling artifacts. Though human breath emissions are a negligible source of VOCs on regional and global scales (less than 4\% and 0.3\%, respectively), simple box model calculations indicate that they may become an important (and sometimes major) indoor source of VOCs under crowded conditions. Human breath emissions are generally not taken into account in indoor air studies, and results from this study suggest that they should be.
This article was published in J Air Waste Manag Assoc
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis