Assessment of volatile organic compounds in urban schools
Mishra, Nitika, Bartsch, Jennifer, Ayoko, Godwin A., & Morawska, Lidia (2012) Assessment of volatile organic compounds in urban schools. In 20th Annual RACI Environmental and Analytical Division, R&D Topics Conference, 11 – 14 December 2012, Deakin University, Melbourne, Vic.
There is an increased concern about airborne particles not only because of their environmental effects, but also due to their potential adverse health effects on humans, especially children. Despite the growing evidence of airborne particles having an impact on children’s health, there have been limited studies investigating the long term health effects as well as the chemical composition of ambient air which further helps in determining their toxicity. Therefore, a systematic study on the chemical composition of air in school environment has been carried out in Brisbane, which is known as “Ultrafine Particles from Traffic Emissions on Children’s Health” (UPTECH). This study is also a part of the larger project focusing on analysis of the chemical composition of ambient air, as well as source apportionment and the quantification of ambient concentrations of organic pollutants in the vicinity of schools. However, this particular paper presents some of the results on concentration of different Volatile Organic Compounds in both indoor and outdoor location from different schools. The database consisted of 750 samples (500 outdoor and 250 indoor) collected for VOCs at 25 different schools. The sampling and analysis were conducted following the standard methods. A total of 90 individual VOCs were identified from the schools studied. Compounds such as toluene, acetic acid, nonanal, benzaldehyde, 2- ethyl 1- hexanol, limonene were the most common in indoors whereas isopentane, toluene, hexane, heptane were dominant in outdoors. The indoor/ outdoor ratio of average sum of VOCs were found to be more than one in most of the schools indicating that there might be additional indoor sources along with the outdoor air in those schools. However, further expansion of the study in relation to source apportionment, correlating with traffic and meteorological data is in progress.
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