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Indoor volatile organic compounds at an Australian university


Goodman, NB and Wheeler, AJ and Paevere, PJ and Selleck, PW and Cheng, M and Steinemann, A, Indoor volatile organic compounds at an Australian university, Building and Environment, 135 pp. 344-351. ISSN 0360-1323 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.02.035


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 xylenes) were up to an order of magnitude higher indoors than outdoors, and at the highest combined geometric mean concentrations in classrooms (51.6 μg/m3), renovated offices (42.8 μg/m3), and a green building (23.0 μg/m3). Further, d-limonene, ethanol, hexaldehyde, β-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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:volatile organic compounds, indoor air quality, formaldehyde, BTEX, university, indoor environments
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Pollution and contamination
Research Field:Pollution and contamination not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Air quality, atmosphere and weather
Objective Field:Air quality
UTAS Author:Wheeler, AJ (Dr Amanda Wheeler)
ID Code:127931
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2018-08-23
Last Modified:2019-03-05

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