Assessment of indoor air concentrations of VOCs and their associated health risks in the library of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Abstract

The present work investigated the levels of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) and benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, m/p-xylene, and o-xylene (BTEX) in different microenvironments in the library of Jawaharlal Nehru University in summer and winter during 2011–2012. Carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health risks due to organic compounds were also evaluated using US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) conventional approaches. Real-time monitoring was done for TVOC using a data-logging photo-ionization detector. For BTEX measurements, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) standard method which consists of active sampling of air through activated charcoal, followed by analysis with gas chromatography, was performed. Simultaneously, outdoor measurements for TVOC and BTEX were carried out. Indoor concentrations of TVOC and BTEX (except benzene) were higher as compared to the outdoor for both seasons. Toluene and m/p-xylene were the most abundant organic contaminant observed in this study. Indoor to outdoor (I/O) ratios of BTEX compounds were generally greater than unity and ranged from 0.2 to 8.7 and 0.2 to 4.3 in winter and summer, respectively. Statistical analysis and I/O ratios showed that the dominant pollution sources mainly came from indoors. The observed mean concentrations of TVOC lie within the second group of the Molhave criteria of indoor air quality, indicating a multifactorial exposure range. The estimated lifetime cancer risk (LCR) due to benzene in this study exceeded the value of 1 × 10−6 recommended by USEPA, and the hazard quotient (HQ) of non-cancer risk came under an acceptable range.

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Acknowledgments

The study is supported by a research grant (Junior Research Fellowship) from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi. The authors wish to acknowledge Dr. Manorama Tripathy, Deputy Librarian of Central Library, JNU, New Delhi for her help during the sampling campaign.

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Correspondence to Amit Kumar.

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Responsible editor: Gerhard Lammel

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Kumar, A., Singh, B.P., Punia, M. et al. Assessment of indoor air concentrations of VOCs and their associated health risks in the library of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Environ Sci Pollut Res 21, 2240–2248 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-2150-7

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Keywords

  • TVOC
  • BTEX
  • Library
  • Indoor–outdoor ratio
  • Hazard quotient