Evaluation and guidelines for using polyurethane foam (PUF) passive air samplers in double-dome chambers to assess semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) in non-industrial indoor environments
Indoor air pollution has been recognized as an important risk factor for human health, especially in areas where people tend to spend most of their time indoors. Many semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) have primarily indoor sources and are present in orders of magnitude higher concentrations indoors than outdoors. Despite this, awareness of SVOCs in indoor air and assessment of the link between indoor concentrations and human health have lagged behind those of outdoor air. This is partially related to challenges associated with indoor sampling of SVOCs. Passive air samplers (PASs), which are widely accepted in established outdoor air monitoring networks, have been used to fill the knowledge gaps on indoor SVOCs distribution. However, their applicability for indoor environments and the assessment of human health risks lack sufficient experimental data. To address this issue, we performed an indoor calibration study of polyurethane foam (PUF) PAS deployed in a double-dome chamber, covering both legacy and new SVOC classes. PUF–PAS and a continuous low-volume active air sampler (AAS) were co-deployed for a calibration period of twelve weeks. Based on the results from this evaluation, PUF–PAS in a double-bowl chamber is recommended for indoor sampling and health risk assessment of gas phase SVOCs, including novel brominated flame retardants (nBFR) providing sufficient exposure time is applied. Data for particle associated SVOCs suffered from significant uncertainties caused by low level of detection and low precision in this study. A more open chamber design for indoor studies may allow for higher sampling rates (RS) and better performance for the particle associated SVOCs.