Differences in source emission rates of volatile organic compounds in inner-city residences of New York City and Los Angeles

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Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology
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The Toxics Exposure Assessment Columbia-Harvard (TEACH) Project characterized personal, indoor, and outdoor concentrations of a suite of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for high school students living in New York City (NYC) and Los Angeles ( LA). This paper presents the analysis of VOC measurements collected indoors and outdoors for 46 students' homes in NYC and for 41 students' homes in LA across two seasons. Dual-sorbent thermal desorption tubes were used for the collection of 15 VOCs and C-18 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine-coated cartridges were used for the collection of seven aldehydes. Air-exchange rates (AERs) were also measured using a perfluorocarbon tracer gas method. The AERs were lower in the winter in both cities, averaging 1 h(-1) in NYC and 1.4 h(-1) in LA, compared with 1.8 h(-1) in NYC in the summer and 2.5 h(-1) in LA in the fall. Higher AERs were generally associated with lower indoor-outdoor ratios with significant differences for the compounds with indoor sources, including chloroform, 1,4-dichlorobenzene, and formaldehyde. Using a mass-balance model to account for AER and other housing parameters, effective source emission rates (SER) were calculated for each compound. Based on I/O ratios and source emission rates, VOCs could be divided into: (1) indoor-source-influenced compounds, (2) those with contributions from both indoor and outdoor sources, and (3) those with mostly outdoor sources. Significant indoor sources were found for the following six compounds ( mean emission rates presented): chloroform (0.11 mg/h), 1,4-dichlorobenzene (19 mg/h), formaldehyde (5 mg/h), acetaldehyde (2 mg/h), benzaldehyde (0.6 mg/h), and hexaldehyde (2 mg/h). Although chloroform had variable I/O ratios across seasons, SERs, which accounted for AER, were similar in both cities for both seasons (e.g., LA means 0.12 and 0.11 mg/h in winter and fall, respectively). Formaldehyde had substantially higher indoor emission rates in the summer in NYC compared to winter (3.8 vs. 1.6 mg/h) but lower in the fall in LA compared to winter (4.3 vs. 5.0 mg/h). Uncertainty analysis determined that source strength calculations were not sensitive to measurement error for a subset of homes in LA.


Suppl. 1816SFTimes Cited:15Cited References Count:85

DOI 10.1038/sj.jea.7500364