Concentrations of VOCs and ozone in indoor environments: A case study in two Mediterranean cities during winter period

Bartzis, John G.; Michael, Costas; Michaelidou, Stella; Missia, Dafni A.; Saraga, Dikaia E.; Tolis, Evangelos I.; Psoma, S.; Petaloti, Christine; Kotzias, Dimitrios and Barero-Moreno, Josefa M. (2008). Concentrations of VOCs and ozone in indoor environments: A case study in two Mediterranean cities during winter period. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, 17(9b) pp. 1480–1484.

Abstract

Building materials represent the largest surfaces indoors and are the major contributors of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the indoor environment. This study which is conducted in the frame of BUMA project (Prioritization of Building Materials Emissions), aims at assessing the human exposure to air hazards emitted by building materials. In this study, indoor and outdoor VOCs and ozone measurements from field campaigns in two Mediterranean cities (Nicosia and Athens in winter period) are presented and discussed. The field campaigns concern weekly measurements. The campaigns were conducted in four buildings in each city (1 Public building, 1 school and 2 houses) and concern weekly measurements. Passive samplers were used for collecting VOCs and ozone. Eight (8) hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, m,p-xylene, a-pinene, o-xylene and d-limonene), five (5) carbonyl compounds (formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, proprionaldehyde, acetone and hexanaldehyde) and ozone have been measured. Additional air exchange measurements have been conducted using tracer gas techniques. Hazardous substances such as benzene, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde present indoor concentrations that range between 1.5-10.2, 5.8-43.2 and 4.5-15 μg/m3, respectively. VOC concentration data show a considerable variability due to the different indoor emission sources, ventilation rates and outdoor environment's influence. A significant contribution to indoor measured concentrations seems to come from the building materials. Ozone outdoor concentrations are reduced substantially inside, indicating relatively strong indoor ozone sinks.

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