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Risk assessment of inhalation exposure to VOCs in dwellings in Chongqing, China


This paper investigated the concentrations of eight types of indoor volatile organic compounds (VOCs)–benzene, toluene, xylenes, butyl acetate, styrene, isopropylbenzene, undecane and formaldehyde. The tests were carried out in 50 dwellings in the main urban areas of Chongqing, China. According to the detected concentration, toluene was the most predominant among all the targeted compounds. Benzene and formaldehyde concentrations were lower than the reference levels regulated by the Chinese National Standard (GB/T 50325). Based on the activity patterns and exposure factors of adults in urban Chongqing, we used the concentration data to estimate the adults’ inhalation exposures as well as the health risks using Monte-Carlo simulations. The results indicated that the exposure doses of benzene and formaldehyde exceeded the benchmarks. The highest hazard quotient (HQ) values were found in the case of formaldehyde (median=0.293 for females and 0.292 for males) and the hazard index (HI) values were 0.326 and 0.325 for females and males, respectively. The highest lifetime cancer risk (LCR) values were found in formaldehyde (median=7.16×10-5 for female; 6.56×10-5 for male). Formaldehyde was found to be the most important pollutant with relatively high toxic and carcinogenic risk levels, based on the exposure and health assessment. This was followed by benzene, toluene, xylenes and butyl acetate. This study can help us better understand the concentration levels of VOC contaminants in residential buildings, and to help select appropriate decoration materials for buildings.

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Jul 2017, accepted on 11 Oct 2017 and first published on 13 Oct 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TX00191F
Citation: Toxicol. Res., 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Risk assessment of inhalation exposure to VOCs in dwellings in Chongqing, China

    Z. Cheng, B. Li, W. Yu, H. Wang, T. Zhang, J. Xiong and Z. Bu, Toxicol. Res., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7TX00191F

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