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Substances in the indoor air and house dust of dwellings

Verbindingen in lucht en huisstof van woningen


The concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide were measured in the indoor air of sixty dwellings in Groningen, the Netherlands. The health-based guidelines for these compounds were not exceeded in the majority of the living rooms. The guideline for the concentration of total VOCs was exceeded in five living rooms in the winter. This was primarily caused by the higher concentrations of limonene in these living rooms. This substance is a common constituent of air fresheners and cleaning products. The guideline for nitrogen dioxide concentrations was only exceeded in specific situations, such as in kitchens with unvented gas water heaters. In the majority of living rooms no or very little carbon monoxide was measured. The guideline for carbon dioxide concentrations was exceeded at some point in approximately half of these living rooms in Groningen. This means that for a certain period of time there was not enough ventilation in these rooms. The concentrations of a number of substances in house dust were also measured during this study. The concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and a number of metals were below the guidelines. However, lead in the house dust of a couple of dwellings could form a potential health risk for children. These are the findings of research carried out by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and TNO, and commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM), Environmental Safety and Risk Management Directorate and the VROM-Inspectorate. This study was carried out in Groningen and is not representative for Dutch dwellings. Nevertheless, the results are generally in agreement with those of other recent studies in Dutch dwellings.

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