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Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2014 Jan;92(1):96-102. doi: 10.1007/s00128-013-1129-x. Epub 2013 Oct 25.

Characterization and risk assessment of exposure to volatile organic compounds in apartment buildings in Harbin, China.

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Key Laboratory of Bio-based Material Science and Technology (Ministry of Education), Northeast Forestry University, Harbin, 150040, Heilongjiang, China.


This study analyzed the risk of exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the apartment buildings (including bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens and study rooms) in Harbin, China. The concentration of total VOCs in bedrooms showed the lowest value with an average of 482.6 mg/m(3). 32.33 % of total measured VOCs correspond to aromatic hydrocarbons. The major chemical forms of the identified VOCs in other 3 types of rooms were alcohols which contributed to 30.66 % (in living rooms), 36.55 % (in kitchens) and 35.43 % (in study rooms) separately. Formaldehyde was the pollutant of highest concern given its high chronic toxic and carcinogenic risk levels according to the health assessment. Other pollutants of concern for human heal risks were benzene and naphthalene. The non-cancer risk by the exposure to naphthalene ranged from 2.39 to 2.80 in 4 target groups, which is more than 1.0 considered as a hazarded level to human health.

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