VOC source identification from personal and residential indoor, outdoor and workplace microenvironment samples in EXPOLIS-Helsinki, Finland

Rufus Edwards (Corresponding Author), Jouni Jurvelin, Kristina Saarela, Matti Jantunen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Principal component analyses (varimax rotation) were used to identify common sources of 30 target volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in residential outdoor, residential indoor and workplace microenvironment and personal 48-h exposure samples, as a component of the EXPOLIS-Helsinki study. Variability in VOC concentrations in residential outdoor microenvironments was dominated by compounds associated with long-range transport of pollutants, followed by traffic emissions, emissions from trees and product emissions. Variability in VOC concentrations in environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) free residential indoor environments was dominated by compounds associated with indoor cleaning products, followed by compounds associated with traffic emissions, long-range transport of pollutants and product emissions. Median indoor/outdoor ratios for compounds typically associated with traffic emissions and long-range transport of pollutants exceeded 1, in some cases quite considerably, indicating substantial indoor source contributions. Changes in the median indoor/outdoor ratios during different seasons reflected different seasonal ventilation patterns as increased ventilation led to dilution of those VOC compounds in the indoor environment that had indoor sources. Variability in workplace VOC concentrations was dominated by compounds associated with traffic emissions followed by product emissions, long-range transport and air fresheners. Variability in VOC concentrations in ETS free personal exposure samples was dominated by compounds associated with traffic emissions, followed by long-range transport, cleaning products and product emissions. VOC sources in personal exposure samples reflected the times spent in different microenvironments, and personal exposure samples were not adequately represented by any one microenvironment, demonstrating the need for personal exposure sampling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4829-4841
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 2001
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • personal exposure
  • exposure
  • volatile organic compounds
  • VOC
  • traffic
  • long-range transport
  • indoor-outdoor ratio
  • cleaning products
  • indoor sources
  • indoor air
  • health hazards

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