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J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2016;19(2):47-64. doi: 10.1080/10937404.2015.1134371. Epub 2016 May 10.

A systematic review of evidence and implications of spatial and seasonal variations of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in indoor human environments.

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a Institute of Science and Innovation on Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Management , Porto , Portugal.
b Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto , Porto , Portugal.
c Portugal & Centro Hospitalar São João , Porto , Portugal.


Many volatile organic compounds (VOC) are classified as known or possible human carcinogens, irritants, and toxicants, and VOC exposure has been associated with asthma and other respiratory symptoms/diseases. This review summarizes recent quantitative data regarding VOC in four categories of indoor environments (schools, housing, offices, and other indoor) and compares the types and concentration levels of individual VOC that were detected, measured, and reported according to season (cold and warm). The influence of outdoor air on concentrations of indoor VOC was also assessed as ratios of indoor versus outdoor. Papers published from 2000 onward were reviewed and 1383 potentially relevant studies were identified. From these, 177 were removed after duplication, 1176 were excluded for not meeting the review criteria, and 40 were included in this review. On average, higher mean concentrations of indoor VOC were found in housing environments, in offices, and in the cold season. Volatile organic compounds are commonly present in indoor air and specific compounds, and their concentrations vary among indoor environments and seasons, indicating corresponding differences in sources (indoors and outdoors). Actions and policies to reduce VOC exposures, such as improved product labeling and consumer education, are recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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