Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 11, Issue 9, pp 1091–1107 | Cite as

BTEX near real-time monitoring in two primary schools in La Rochelle, France

  • Irene Lara-lbeas
  • Claire Trocquet
  • Rouba Nasreddine
  • Christina Andrikopoulou
  • Vincent Person
  • Béatrice Cormerais
  • Stéphanette Englaro
  • Stéphane Le CalvéEmail author


The present field campaign was conducted in two French primary schools for 5 weeks, where the experimental conditions were modified every week. During the first week, the classrooms were empty and not occupied, whereas the furniture was added the second week. For the three last weeks, the classrooms were normally occupied by students and various scenarios of ventilation were applied. BTEX concentrations were monitored by using novel portable pre-industrial prototypes with low gas and energy consumption, which worked continuously and operated in near real time with a time resolution of 10 min. The BTEX concentrations were compared to CO2 measurements since the latter is commonly considered as a confinement indicator. In both schools, BTEX were not detected during the absence of students indicating that neither building materials nor furniture emit such compounds. Once the schools occupied by students, BTEX have been detected from time to time, and their concentrations ranged as follows: 0–12 ppb (benzene); 0–29 ppb (toluene), 0–4 ppb (ethylbenzene), 0–11 ppb (m/p-xylenes), and 0–10 ppb (o-xylene) excluding huge values due to paint emissions in one of the schools. Toluene was found to be strongly correlated to high levels of CO2, showing that it was emitted by internal students activities scheduled at the end of mornings. On the contrary, benzene peak was not correlated to high values of CO2, suggesting that it comes from external sources.


BTEX Toluene Indoor air schools CO2 levels Real time Portable device 



This work has been conducted in the framework of Impact’Air project financially supported by ADEME (Agence De l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie), the city of La Rochelle, and the Ligue contre le cancer.

Supplementary material

11869_2018_611_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 23 kb)


  1. Alves C, Duarte M, Ferreira M, Alves A, Almeida A, Cunha  (2016) Air quality in a school with dampness and mould problems. Air Qual Atmosphere Health 9:107–115. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Apte MG, Fisk WJ, Daisey JM (2000) Associations between indoor CO2 concentrations and sick building syndrome symptoms in U.S. office buildings: an analysis of the 1994–1996 BASE study data. Indoor Air 10:246–257. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arif AA, Shah SM (2007) Association between personal exposure to volatile organic compounds and asthma among US adult population. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 80:711–719. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bari MA, Kindzierski WB, Wheeler AJ, Héroux M-È, Wallace LA (2015) Source apportionment of indoor and outdoor volatile organic compounds at homes in Edmonton, Canada. Build Environ 90:114–124. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Buka I, Koranteng S, Osornio-Vargas AR (2006) The effects of air pollution on the health of children. Paediatr Child Health 11:513–516Google Scholar
  6. Can E, Özden Üzmez Ö, Döğeroğlu T, Gaga EO (2015) Indoor air quality assessment in painting and printmaking department of a fine arts faculty building. Atmospheric Pollut Res 6:1035–1045. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Canha N, Mandin C, Ramalho O, Wyart G, Ribéron J, Dassonville C, Hänninen O, Almeida SM, Derbez M (2016) Assessment of ventilation and indoor air pollutants in nursery and elementary schools in France. Indoor Air 26:350–365. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Daisey JM, Angell WJ, Apte MG (2003) Indoor air quality, ventilation and health symptoms in schools: an analysis of existing information. Indoor Air 13:53–64. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Geiss O, Giannopoulos G, Tirendi S, Barrero-Moreno J, Larsen BR, Kotzias D (2011) The AIRMEX study - VOC measurements in public buildings and schools/kindergartens in eleven European cities: statistical analysis of the data. Atmos Environ 45:3676–3684. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Godoi RHM, Godoi AFL, Gonçalves Junior SJ, Paralovo SL, Borillo GC, Gonçalves Gregório Barbosa C, Arantes MG, Charello RC, Rosário Filho NA, Grassi MT, Yamamoto CI, Potgieter-Vermaak S, Rotondo GG, De Wael K, van Grieken R (2013) Healthy environment — indoor air quality of Brazilian elementary schools nearby petrochemical industry. Sci Total Environ 463–464:639–646. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Godwin C, Batterman S (2007) Indoor air quality in Michigan schools. Indoor Air 17:109–121. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Griffiths M, Eftekhari M (2008) Control of CO2 in a naturally ventilated classroom. Energy Build 40:556–560. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Guo H, Lee SC, Li WM, Cao JJ (2003) Source characterization of BTEX in indoor microenvironments in Hong Kong. Atmos Environ 37:73–82. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hänninen O, Canha N, Kulinkina AV, Dume I, Deliu A, Mataj E, Lusati A, Krzyzanowski M, Egorov AI (2017) Analysis of CO2 monitoring data demonstrates poor ventilation rates in Albanian schools during the cold season. Air Qual Atmos Health 10:773–782. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hazrati S, Rostami R, Farjaminezhad M, Fazlzadeh M (2016) Preliminary assessment of BTEX concentrations in indoor air of residential buildings and atmospheric ambient air in Ardabil, Iran. Atmos Environ 132:91–97. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ilgen E, Karfich N, Levsen K, Angerer J, Schneider P, Heinrich J, Wichmann H-E, Dunemann L, Begerow J (2001) Aromatic hydrocarbons in the atmospheric environment: part I. Indoor versus outdoor sources, the influence of traffic. Atmos Environ 35:1235–1252. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kotzias D, Geiss O, Tirendi S, Barrero J, Reina V, Gotti A, Cimino Reale G, Marafante E, Sarigiannis D, Casati B (2009) Exposure to multiple air contaminants in public buildings, schools and kindergartens - the European indoor air monitoring and exposure assessment (AIRMEX) study. Fresenius Environ Bull 18:670–681Google Scholar
  18. Liu K, Zhang C, Cheng Y, Liu C, Zhang H, Zhang G, Sun X, Mu Y (2015) Serious BTEX pollution in rural area of the North China Plain during winter season. J Environ Sci 30:186–190. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Liu S, Li R, Wild RJ, Warneke C, de Gouw JA, Brown SS, Miller SL, Luongo JC, Jimenez JL, Ziemann PJ (2016a) Contribution of human-related sources to indoor volatile organic compounds in a university classroom. Indoor Air 26:925–938. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Liu Z, Li N, Wang N (2016b) Characterization and source identification of ambient VOCs in Jinan, China. Air Qual Atmos Health 9:285–291. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Madhoun WAA, Ramli NA, Yahaya AS, Yusuf NFFM, Ghazali NA, Sansuddin N (2011) Levels of benzene concentrations emitted from motor vehicles in various sites in Nibong Tebal, Malaysia. Air Qual Atmos Health 4:103–109. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Madureira J, Paciência I, Rufo J, Ramos E, Barros H, Teixeira JP, de Oliveira FE (2015) Indoor air quality in schools and its relationship with children’s respiratory symptoms. Atmos Environ 118:145–156. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Madureira J, Paciência I, Rufo J, Severo M, Ramos E, Barros H, de Oliveira FE (2016) Source apportionment of CO2, PM10 and VOCs levels and health risk assessment in naturally ventilated primary schools in Porto, Portugal. Build Environ 96:198–205. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Marzocca A, Di Gilio A, Farella G, Giua R, de Gennaro G (2017) Indoor air quality assessment and study of different VOC contributions within a school in Taranto City, south of Italy. Environments 4:23. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mendell MJ, Heath GA (2005) Do indoor pollutants and thermal conditions in schools influence student performance? A critical review of the literature. Indoor Air 15:27–52. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Muscatiello N, McCarthy A, Kielb C, Hsu W-H, Hwang S-A, Lin S (2015) Classroom conditions and CO2 concentrations and teacher health symptom reporting in 10 New York State Schools. Indoor Air 25:157–167. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nasreddine R, Person V, Serra CA, Le Calvé S (2015) Development of a novel portable miniaturized GC for near real-time low level detection of BTEX. Sens Actuators B Chem 224:159–169. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nasreddine R, Person V, Serra CA, Schoemaecker C, Le Calvé S (2016) Portable novel micro-device for BTEX real-time monitoring: assessment during a field campaign in a low consumption energy junior high school classroom. Atmos Environ 126:211–217. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Norbäck D, Hashim JH, Hashim Z, Ali F (2017) Volatile organic compounds (VOC), formaldehyde and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in schools in Johor Bahru, Malaysia: associations with rhinitis, ocular, throat and dermal symptoms, headache and fatigue. Sci Total Environ 592:153–160. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pegas PN, Evtyugina MG, Alves CA, Nunes T, Cerqueira M, Franchi M, Pio C, Almeida SM, Freitas M, Do C (2010) Outdoor/indoor air quality in primary schools in Lisbon: a preliminary study. Quím Nova 33:1145–1149. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pegas PN, Alves CA, Evtyugina MG, et al (2011) Indoor air quality in elementary schools of Lisbon in spring. Environ Geochem Health 33:455–468. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Phatrabuddha N (2013) Ambient and personal exposure levels of BTEX among school children residing near the oil refineries in Chonburi Province. Appl Environ Res 35:57–73Google Scholar
  33. Rad HD, Babaei AA, Goudarzi G, Angali KA, Ramezani Z, Mohammadi MM (2014) Levels and sources of BTEX in ambient air of Ahvaz metropolitan city. Air Qual Atmos Health 7:515–524. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Romagnoli P, Balducci C, Perilli M, Vichi F, Imperiali A, Cecinato A (2016) Indoor air quality at life and work environments in Rome, Italy. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 23:3503–3516. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Satish U, Mendell MJ, Shekhar K, Hotchi T, Sullivan D, Streufert S, Fisk WJ (2012) Is CO2 an indoor pollutant? Direct effects of low-to-moderate CO2 concentrations on human decision-making performance. Environ Health Perspect 120:1671–1677. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Simoni M, Annesi-Maesano I, Sigsgaard T, Norback D, Wieslander G, Nystad W, Canciani M, Sestini P, Viegi G (2010) School air quality related to dry cough, rhinitis and nasal patency in children. Eur Respir J 35:742–749. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Srivastava PK, Pandit GG, Sharma S, Mohan Rao AM (2000) Volatile organic compounds in indoor environments in Mumbai, India. Sci Total Environ 255:161–168. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stranger M, Potgieter-Vermaak SS, Van Grieken R (2007) Comparative overview of indoor air quality in Antwerp, Belgium. Environ Int 33:789–797. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Turanjanin V, Vučićević B, Jovanović M, Mirkov N, Lazović I (2014) Indoor CO2 measurements in Serbian schools and ventilation rate calculation. Energy 77:290–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Twardella D, Matzen W, Lahrz T, Burghardt R, Spegel H, Hendrowarsito L, Frenzel AC, Fromme H (2012) Effect of classroom air quality on students’ concentration: results of a cluster-randomized cross-over experimental study. Indoor Air 22:378–387. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Verriele M, Schoemaecker C, Hanoune B, Leclerc N, Germain S, Gaudion V, Locoge N (2016) The MERMAID study: indoor and outdoor average pollutant concentrations in 10 low-energy school buildings in France. Indoor Air 26:702–713. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Yurdakul S, Civan M, Özden Ö, Gaga E, Döğeroğlu T, Tuncel G (2017) Spatial variation of VOCs and inorganic pollutants in a university building. Atmos Pollut Res 8:1–12. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Zhong L, Su F-C, Batterman S (2017) Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in conventional and high performance school buildings in the U.S. Int J Environ Res Public Health 14:100. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Lara-lbeas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Claire Trocquet
    • 2
  • Rouba Nasreddine
    • 2
  • Christina Andrikopoulou
    • 1
  • Vincent Person
    • 1
  • Béatrice Cormerais
    • 3
  • Stéphanette Englaro
    • 2
  • Stéphane Le Calvé
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institut de Chimie et Procédés pour l’Energie, l’Environnement et la Santé (ICPEES, UMR 7515 CNRS/Unistra), groupe physico-chimie de l’atmosphèreStrasbourg Cedex 02France
  2. 2.In’Air SolutionsStrasbourgFrance
  3. 3.Direction Santé Publique de la Ville de La RochelleLa RochelleFrance

Personalised recommendations