Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Sources and dynamics of semivolatile organic compounds in a single‐family residence in northern California

Published Web Location

Semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) emitted from building materials, consumer products, and occupant activities alter the composition of air in residences where people spend most of their time. Exposures to specific SVOCs potentially pose risks to human health. However, little is known about the chemical complexity, total burden, and dynamic behavior of SVOCs in residential environments. Furthermore, little is known about the influence of human occupancy on the emissions and fates of SVOCs in residential air. Here, we present the first-ever hourly measurements of airborne SVOCs in a residence during normal occupancy. We employ state-of-the-art semivolatile thermal-desorption aerosol gas chromatography (SV-TAG). Indoor air is shown consistently to contain much higher levels of SVOCs than outdoors, in terms of both abundance and chemical complexity. Time-series data are characterized by temperature-dependent elevated background levels for a broad suite of chemicals, underlining the importance of continuous emissions from static indoor sources. Substantial increases in SVOC concentrations were associated with episodic occupant activities, especially cooking and cleaning. The number of occupants within the residence showed little influence on the total airborne SVOC concentration. Enhanced ventilation was effective in reducing SVOCs in indoor air, but only temporarily; SVOCs recovered to previous levels within hours.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View