In general, VOCs and MVOCs are present in the indoor environment. Some of the sources for VOCs are building materials, cleaning agents, personal care products, perfumes, paints, furnishings, microbial growth, etc. (Kim et al, 2007; Lee et al, 2005).
In addition, fungi and bacteria also produce VOCs, usually referred to as microbial MVOCs. The composition of MVOCs varies according to substrate, humidity and species (Claeson and Sunesson, 2005; Gao and Martin, 2002; Gao et al, 2002; Korpi et al, 1999; Nilsson et al, 2004; Sunesson et al, 1996).
The emitted MVOCs include limonene, hexanol, acetone, butanone, pentanone, 2-ethyl-1-1 hexanol, 1-butanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol, 2-methyl-1-propanol, terpineol, 2-heptanone, 1-octen-3-0l, dimethyl disulfide, 2-hexanone, 3-octanone, 2 pentylfuran, aldehydes, ammonia and various amine compounds (Claeson and Sunesson, 2005; Gao and Martin, 2002; Gao et al, 2002; Li and Yang, 2004; Nilsson et al, 2004; Korpi et al, 1999; Sunesson et al, 1996). For the sake of further discussion, the MVOCs and VOCs will be considered as VOCs.
Porous materials act as a sponge-adsorbing VOC, the latter from which re-emission occurs. Thus, regardless of the origin of the VOCs, adsorption to indoor dust, particles and porous surfaces occurs.
Inhalation of dust and particles leads to deposition of the VOCs in the olfactory mucosa as well as the respiratory tract (Gorny, 2004; Nilsson et al, 2004; also see above--fine particulates).
Indoor VOC concentrations are higher than outdoor concentrations, increasing human exposures to toxins (Kinney et al, 2002; Wallace et al, 1991).
Children living in dwellings with elevated VOCs from microbes have a higher prevalence of asthma, fever, wheezing and irritation of the eyes (Elke et al, 1999).
Fungal-related VOCs in damp buildings have been associated with increased nasal biomarkers of inflammation (cationic proteins, myeloperoxidase and albumin), increased blinking and a decrease in forced vital capacity (FVC) (Walinder et al, 2001, 2005).
In addition, fungal colonization of fiberglass insulation leads to the distribution of VOCs through the air conditioning system, which may be related to sick building syndrome (Ahearn et al, 1996, 2004).
In conclusion, more attention needs to be paid to the contributions of VOCs to the adverse health effects in individuals residing in water-damaged buildings.
Some of the sources of VOCs
Microbial VOCs are produced by molds and bacteria
DISCLAIMER: The contents of this website (including text, graphics and images) are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.