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Siloxanes are the most abundant volatile organic compound emitted from engineering students in a classroom

  • Author(s): Tang, X
  • Misztal, PK
  • Nazaroff, WW
  • Goldstein, AH
  • et al.

Direct human emissions are known to contribute volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to indoor air via various mechanisms. However, few measurements that determine the emissions of a full suite of occupant-associated VOCs are available. We measured occupant-related VOC emissions from engineering students in a classroom using a proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer (PTR-TOF-MS). The dominant compound emitted was a cyclic volatile methylsiloxane (cVMS), decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), which is a major inactive ingredient in some personal care products such as antiperspirants. D5 was found to contribute ∼30% of the total indoor VOC mass concentration as measured by the PTR-TOF-MS. Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) and dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane (D6) were detected at abundances that were 1-2 orders of magnitude lower. The per-person emission rate of these three cVMS declined monotonically from morning into the afternoon, consistent with expectations for emissions from daily morning application of personal care products.

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