Volatile organic compounds: Characteristics, distribution and sources in urban schools

Mishra, Nitika, Bartsch, Jennifer, Ayoko, Godwin A., Salthammer, Tunga, & Morawska, Lidia (2015) Volatile organic compounds: Characteristics, distribution and sources in urban schools. Atmospheric Environment, 106, pp. 485-491.

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Long term exposure to organic pollutants, both inside and outside school buildings may affect children’s health and influence their learning performance. Since children spend significant amount of time in school, air quality, especially in classrooms plays a key role in determining the health risks associated with exposure at schools. Within this context, the present study investigated the ambient concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in 25 primary schools in Brisbane with the aim to quantify the indoor and outdoor VOCs concentrations, identify VOCs sources and their contribution, and based on these; propose mitigation measures to reduce VOCs exposure in schools. One of the most important findings is the occurrence of indoor sources, indicated by the I/O ratio >1 in 19 schools. Principal Component Analysis with Varimax rotation was used to identify common sources of VOCs and source contribution was calculated using an Absolute Principal Component Scores technique. The result showed that outdoor 47% of VOCs were contributed by petrol vehicle exhaust but the overall cleaning products had the highest contribution of 41% indoors followed by air fresheners and art and craft activities. These findings point to the need for a range of basic precautions during the selection, use and storage of cleaning products and materials to reduce the risk from these sources.

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5 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 84561
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Volatile Organic Compounds, School children, organic pollutants, air quality, classrooms, exposure, vehicle exhaust
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2014.10.052
ISSN: 1352-2310
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Aerosols (040101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Monitoring (050206)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified (090799)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution; Non-Commercial; No-Derivatives 4.0 International: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2014.10.052
Deposited On: 28 May 2015 23:13
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2015 19:52

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