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Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 8, pp 5772–5779 | Cite as

Influence of relative humidity on VOC concentrations in indoor air

  • Pawel Markowicz
  • Lennart Larsson
Research Article

Abstract

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may be emitted from surfaces indoors leading to compromised air quality. This study scrutinized the influence of relative humidity (RH) on VOC concentrations in a building that had been subjected to water damage. While air samplings in a damp room at low RH (21–22 %) only revealed minor amounts of 2-ethylhexanol (3 μg/m3) and 2,2,4-trimethyl-1,3-pentanediol diisobutyrate (TXIB, 8 μg/m3), measurements performed after a rapid increase of RH (to 58–75 %) revealed an increase in VOC concentrations which was 3-fold for 2-ethylhexanol and 2-fold for TXIB. Similar VOC emission patterns were found in laboratory analyses of moisture-affected and laboratory-contaminated building materials. This study demonstrates the importance of monitoring RH when sampling indoor air for VOCs in order to avoid misleading conclusions from the analytical results.

Keywords

Indoor air Volatile organic compounds Relative humidity Building environment Sink effect 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS project 242-2008-343). We would like to thank Jörgen Grantén for assistance in some air measurements and access to a study building.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Medical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory MedicineLund UniversityLundSweden

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