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Chemosphere. 2010 Nov;81(10):1272-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2010.09.020. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

Personal exposure of graduate students attending the college of natural sciences or social sciences to volatile organic compounds on campus.

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1
Department of Environmental Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702-701, Republic of Korea. wkjo@knu.ac.kr

Abstract

The present study measured the levels of 24 selected volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the personal air samples obtained from graduate students attending the college of natural sciences (GSNSs) or social science (GSSSs) during their daily activities on campus along with associated indoor and outdoor air samples. In addition, the sources of their personal exposure were characterized using multivariate statistical models. In the personal samples of GSNSs and GSSSs, 16 and 15 different VOCs were always detected, respectively. The personal exposure of five chlorinated hydrocarbons and six aromatics was significantly higher for GSNSs than for GSSSs. Consistently, the indoor levels of these compounds were higher for GSNSs (in research and laboratory rooms) than for GSSSs (in research rooms). However, the personal exposure of two aromatic VOCs (1,2,4- and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene) was higher for GSSSs. Moreover, the personal exposure of the five chlorinated and six aromatic compounds was significantly correlated with VOC concentrations both in the research and laboratory rooms of GSNSs and with those in the research rooms of GSSSs. For certain VOCs, outdoor sources were also a major contributor to the personal exposure of both GSNSs and GSSSs. The multivariate models identified five factors that accounted for 81% of the total variance and four factors that explained 76% of the total variance. It was further suggested that multiple indoor sources in research rooms such as office equipment, building finishing materials, and air fresheners were the main source for the personal exposure to VOCs for GSNSs, whereas building finishing materials were the main source for GSSSs.

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