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Health effects associated with exposure to VOCs include, but are not limited to, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system, and cancer. Certain SVOCs are classified as endocrine disruptors, immunotoxicants, neurotoxicants, and carcinogens. Traditionally, researchers have focused on the presence of VOCs or individual classes of SVOCs. However, few studies have investigated a broad range of chemical compounds in indoor air, and the influences of consumer and household behavior, and geographic location in the United States.
In this study, low density polyethylene stationary air samplers were deployed at 25 different locations, with representation in each region in the United States. Stationary samplers were placed inside and outside the home, and participants completed a survey evaluating household and consumer behavior. In order to have a thorough understanding of chemical composition, a comprehensive chemical analysis was conducted. The presence of over 1,530 individual analytes, and nine different chemical categories was evaluated including: VOCs, oxygenated polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (OPAHs), PAHs, Flame Retardants, Pesticides, Phthalates, Industrial Chemicals, and Personal Care Products.
Differences in chemical profiles and concentrations, as well as the influence of housing characteristics and consumer behavior were compared at each location, and between each location. Future directions include a human health risk assessment for VOCs and SVOCs indoors, to elucidate potential health effects associated with prolonged exposure to these chemical compounds. Data from this study identify which chemical categories are more likely to occur indoors, as well as influences of these exposures, and potential health effects associated with these exposure profiles.