Ninety volatile organic compounds were identified in the headspace of biodegradable and mixed household waste by GC/MS. Most of them could be attributed to biological waste, microbiological growth in biological waste or packaging materials. Although none of the compounds were present at concentrations exceeding their threshold limit values, it is possibile that in closed garbage cans or containers organic sulfur compounds could contribute to the reported gastrointestinal problems of collection personnel. © 1994.
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