Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying
Concentrations of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) exceeding 1 mg/m3 have been implicated in the Sick Building Syndrome. Very few measurements of TVOC have been made in homes and buildings in the United States. However, stored gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) data on 12-hour average values of individual VOCs from 750 homes and 10 buildings were available from EPA's Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Studies (1981-88). An initial study to determine the feasibility of obtaining a TVOC value from stored GC/MS data showed that TVOC estimates could be obtained with adequate precision. Therefore TVOC values were calculated for about 2700 personal, indoor, and outdoor air samples collected in the TEAM Studies.More than half of the personal and indoor air samples had TVOC levels exceeding 1 mg/m3, compared to only about 10% of the outdoor air samples. However, these calculated values may not be directly comparable with values determined using different sampling and analytical techniques. Nonetheless, since all samples were collected on Tenax cartridges, which (like all sorbents) adsorb only a portion of the organic chemicals in the air, these values are likely to be underestimates of the total volatile organic loading.
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