Author(s): Zhu J, Newhook R, Marro L, Chan CC
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Abstract Airborne levels of selected volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) that are priorities for exposure assessment under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) 1999 were measured in both indoor air and outdoor air of 75 residential houses, in the city of Ottawa, Canada, during the winter of 2002/2003. The houses were randomly selected using Ottawa 2001 population census data. VOCs were collected on adsorbent tubes and measured by thermal desorption GC/MS. Among 37 chemicals monitored, 17 were detected with a frequency greater than 80\% in indoor air; 9 were between 30\% and 80\%; 7 were between 1\% and 30\%; and 4 were not detected. Concentrations of VOCs in both indoor and outdoor air are presented. Virtually all of the target VOCs were detected more frequently and were present at significantly higher levels, in indoor air than in outdoor air. As an indication of the contribution of indoor levels of these chemicals, ratios of the concentration found in indoor air to outdoor air (I/O) and the indoor source strength expressed in estimated emission rate per house are also presented. Compared with earlier published studies including a 1991/1992 Canadian national survey of VOCs in residential air, levels of target analytes in indoor air in this study were lower for a number of chemicals, indicating a possible trend toward decreased inhalation exposure to these chemicals in residential environments. This study has yielded up-to-date information on levels of a variety of priority airborne chemicals in residential air, which is being used to estimate current exposure to these substances as input to health risk assessments and risk management actions under CEPA 1999.
This article was published in Environ Sci Technol
and referenced in Journal of Physical Chemistry & Biophysics