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Introduction

A large body of scientific evidence indicates that air within homes and buildings can be substantially more polluted than outdoor air even in the most industrialized cities. Research also indicates that people spend 90 percent of their time indoors. For certain sensitive populations like the elderly, chronically ill or infants, this number is greater. These populations are the most susceptible to the effects of indoor air pollution and spend increased time indoors. Thus the health risks for sensitive populations are greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors. There are many potential sources of indoor air pollution in homes and buildings. These include building materials, furnishings and other products used indoors. Considering that source control is the most effective means of preventing indoor air pollution, reducing volatile organic chemical emissions from products is a critical aspect of protecting human health.

Over the past 20 years, over 13,000 products have been studied for their VOC emissions using standardized test protocols and results have been compared to certain indoor air quality product guidelines. We selected a subset of this data and generated a database from which we pulled summary statistics and the frequency of detection for over 14,000 individual chemicals. We have summarized our findings in this paper.