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Environ Int. 2006 Jan;32(1):58-79. Epub 2005 Jul 1.

A case study on identification of airborne organic compounds and time courses of their concentrations in the cabin of a new car for private use.

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Osaka Prefectural Institute of Public Health, Nakamichi, Higashinari-ku, Japan.

Erratum in

  • Environ Int. 2007 Feb;33(2):275-81.


The cabin of an automobile can be considered to be a part of the living environment because many people spend long periods of time during business, shopping, recreation or travel activities. However, little is known about the interior air contamination due to organic compounds diffusing from the interior materials used in the interior of automobiles. In the present study, the compounds in the interior air of a new car were identified, and the time courses of their concentrations were examined for over 3 years after the delivery (July, 1999). A total of 162 organic compounds, involving many aliphatic hydrocarbons and aromatic hydrocarbons, were identified. High concentrations of n-nonane (458 microg/m(3) on the day following delivery), n-decane (1301 microg/m(3)), n-undecane (1616 microg/m(3)), n-dodecane (716 microg/m(3)), n-tridecane (320 microg/m(3)), 1-hexadecene (768 microg/m(3)), ethylbenzene (361 microg/m(3)), xylene (4003 microg/m(3)) and 2,2'-azobis(isobutyronitrile) (429 microg/m(3)) were detected, and the sum of the concentrations determined for all compounds excluding formaldehyde (TVOC) was approximately 14 mg/m(3) on the day after the delivery. The concentrations of most compounds decreased with time, but increased with a rise of the interior temperature. The TVOC concentration in the next summer (July, 2000) was approximately one-tenth of the initial concentration. During the 3-year study period, the TVOC concentrations in summer exceeded the indoor guideline value (300 mug/m(3)) proposed by [Seifert B. Volatile organic compounds. In: Maroni M, Seifert B, Lindvall T, editors. Indoor air quality. A comprehensive reference book. Air quality monographs, vol. 3. Netherlands: Elsevier Science; 1995. p. 819-21]. The interior temperature and days lapsed after delivery were the main factors affecting the interior concentrations of most compounds according to multiple linear regression analysis. The results of this study offer useful fundamental data for investigations on air pollution in automotive cabins due to the organic compounds diffusing from the interior materials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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