Coronavirus Information for the UC San Diego Community

Our leaders are working closely with federal and state officials to ensure your ongoing safety at the university. Stay up to date with the latest developments. Learn more.

Indoor volatile organic compounds at an Australian university

TitleIndoor volatile organic compounds at an Australian university
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsGoodman N.B, Wheeler A.J, Paevere P.J, Selleck P.W, Cheng M., Steinemann A.
JournalBuilding and Environment
Date Published2018/05
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0360-1323
Accession NumberWOS:000430784300030
Keywordsair-quality; BTEX; buildings; Construction & Building Technology; Engineering; environmental chamber; formaldehyde; france; Indoor air quality; Indoor environments; melbourne; pollutants; products; schools; University; voc emissions; Volatile organic compounds

This study investigates volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at a large Australian university, within locations of campus services, restrooms, renovated offices, a green building, meeting areas, and classrooms. Analysis of 41 VOCs across 20 locations reveals indoor concentrations higher than outdoor concentrations for 97% of all VOC measurements (493 unique comparisons). Hazardous air pollutants (formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and xy-lenes) were up to an order of magnitude higher indoors than outdoors, and at the highest combined geometric mean concentrations in classrooms (51.6 mu g/m(3)), renovated offices (42.8 mu g/m(3)), and a green building (23.0 mu g/m(3)). Further, d-limonene, ethanol, hexaldehyde, beta-pinene, and isobutane were up to two orders of magnitude higher indoors than outdoors. The most prevalent VOCs (e.g., ethanol, d-limonene, and formaldehyde) have links with building materials, furnishings, and fragranced consumer products such as air fresheners and cleaning supplies. Highest indoor to outdoor concentration (I/O) ratios of formaldehyde (27), toluene (9), p-xylene (12), and m-xylene (11) were in a green building; highest of benzene (6) in renovated offices; and highest of o-xylene (9) in meeting areas. Results from this study are consistent with findings from similar international studies and suggest that university indoor environments may be important sources of pollutants.

Student Publication: