Indoor and outdoor concentration levels of 21 carbonyl compounds and five BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes) were measured in four hospitals of Guangzhou from 2nd January to 20th March 2004. Samples were collected in five consecutive daytimes for each hospital. Among most of the samples, acetone was the most abundant carbonyl, followed by acetaldehyde, 2-butanone or formaldehyde. Toluene was the most abundant BTEX and the others were at similar levels. The relatively higher acetone concentrations might have resulted from the high level of background in Guangzhou area due to emission of the factories and LPG-fuel vehicles, and also for the special weather conditions during sampling time. The high concentration of acetaldehyde, which was even higher than that of formaldehyde, might be resulted from the wide use of ethanol in hospital. The partial oxidation of ethanol may form acetaldehyde. The indoor concentrations of carbonyls and BTEX were found a little higher than their outdoor counterparts with only a few exceptions, which showed the anthropogenic sources for these compounds. The low correlations between most carbonyls and BTEX concentrations might be caused by their complex sources. Finally, the human exposure levels of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde in hospitals are discussed. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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