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Aromatic hydrocarbons in the atmospheric environment. Part II: Univariate and multivariate analysis and case studies of indoor concentrations

: Ilgen, E.; Levsen, K.; Angerer, J.; Schneider, P.; Heinrich, J.; Wichmann, H.E.


Atmospheric environment 35 (2001), Nr.7, S.1253-1264
ISSN: 0004-6981
ISSN: 1352-2310
Fraunhofer ITA ( ITEM) ()
aromatic compound; hydrocarbon; benzene; indoor air pollution; multivariate analysis

The concentrations of the aromatic hydrocarbons benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and the isomeric xylenes (BTEX) have been determined in the indoor air of 115 private non-smoker homes (~380 individual rooms) situated in areas with an extreme traffic situation, i.e. in city streets (street canyons) with high traffic density and in rural areas with hardly any traffic at all. The influence of the traffic on the indoor concentration was apparent in the high traffic area. In order to identify other factors influencing the BTEX concentrations, the data and additional questionnaires were analyzed by univariate and multivariate analysis. The analysis was supplemented by some case studies. It is shown that meteorology (the seasons), the type of room (e.g. living room versus bedroom), the ventilation and, in particular, garages in the house strongly influence the indoor concentration of BTEX. Thus, the indoor BTEX level is significantly higher in winter than in summer. Moreover, garages with a connecting door to the living quarters lead to high indoor concentrations of aromatic hydrocarbons in these rooms. In addition, the storage of solvents and hobby materials, and also the presence of smoking guests increase the BTEX level. If rooms are directly heated by coal or wood, the BTEX level is higher compared to the use of gas heating. Surprisingly, no correlation was found between the building materials used and the BTEX level. Case studies were carried out for two homes with an integrated garage (and a connecting door to the living rooms) and for seven homes where redecoration work was carried out during sampling. In both instances, a pronounced increase was observed in the BTEX concentration.