Exposure of population and microenvironmental distributions of volatile organic compound concentrations in the EXPOLIS study

Kristina Saarela (Corresponding Author), Tiina Tirkkonen, Jutta Laine-Ylijoki, J. Jurvelin, M. Jantunen

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Determination of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) formed one part of the EU-EXPOLIS project in which the exposure of European urban populations to particles and gaseous pollutants was studied. The EXPOLIS study concentrated on 30 target VOCs selected on the basis of environmental and health significance and usability of the compounds as markers of pollution sources. In the project, 201 subjects in Helsinki, 50 in Athens, 50 in Basel, 50 in Milan and, 50 in Oxford and 50 in Prague were selected for the final exposure sample. The microenvironmental and personal exposure concentrations of VOCs were the lowest in Helsinki and Basel, while the highest concentrations were measured in Athens and Milan; Oxford and Prague were in between. In all cities, home indoor air was the most significant exposure agent. Workplace indoor air concentrations measured in this study were generally lower than the home indoor concentrations and home outdoor air played a minor role as an exposure agent. When estimating the measured personal exposure concentrations using the measured concentrations and time fractions spent at home indoors, at home outdoors, and at the workplace, it could be concluded that these three microenvironments do not fully explain the personal exposure. Other important sources for personal exposure must be encountered, the most important being traffic/transportation and other indoor environments not measured in this study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5563-5575
Number of pages13
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number39-40
Publication statusPublished - 2003
MoE publication typeNot Eligible



  • volatile organic compounds
  • indoor air
  • occupational exposure
  • environmental exposure
  • workplace

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