Diffusive sampling of 25 volatile organic compounds in indoor air: Uptake rate determination and application in Flemish homes for the elderly

  • Walgraeve C
  • Demeestere K
  • Dewulf J
 et al. 
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Passive sampling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in air has received increasing attention in recent years. However, in order to use passive sampling as a reliable sampling technique a compound and sampler specific uptake rate is needed. Therefore, the scope of our study was threefold. First, uptake rates for 25 VOCs were determined under real indoor and outdoor conditions using axial-sampling tube-type samplers filled with Tenax TA, and active (pumped) sampling as a reference technique. Secondly, the mechanisms of passive sampling were investigated by comparing the experimentally determined uptake rates (0.13-0.46 ml min-1) to the ideal uptake rates, calculated based on Fick's first law of diffusion and sampler geometry. Sampling efficiency SE, defined as the ratio between the experimental and ideal uptake rate, was introduced as a correction factor and showed that ideal uptake rates may underestimate VOC concentrations by a factor up to 4. This compound dependent SE is explained in terms of the partitioning coefficient K, i.e. the compound's Tenax TA to air concentration equilibrium ratio. Compounds with a low K-value showed the most pronounced non-ideal sorptive behavior. Third, the experimentally determined uptake rates were used to determine VOC concentrations (between 12 and 311 μg m-3) in 6 homes for the elderly in Antwerp (Belgium). This study provides unique data for indoor air quality at care centers in Flanders. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Flanders
  • Homes for the elderly
  • Indoor air
  • Passive sampling
  • Uptake rates
  • VOCs

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