Identification of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and organophosphate flame retardants (OPFR) in building materials
Abstract: Humans today spend most of their time in various indoor settings such as housing, schools and workplaces. The quality of the indoor environment is therefore of great significance for our wellbeing. However, it has been suggested that the indoor environment contains over 6000 organic compounds, such as various volatile organic compounds (VOC). Around 500 of these compounds is believed to be due to emissions from different surrounding building materials such as insulation, plastic film, sealants and flooring. This study targeted building materials from three low energy preschools that were sampled and analyzed for emissions of VOCs and nine different organophosphate flame retardant compounds (OPFR) using a gas chromatograph coupled to a mass spectrometer (GC/MS). Low energy buildings are buildings that is particularly air tight to be so energy efficient as possible. The study uses a qualitative approach and therefore mainly identifies possible contribution from building materials to indoor environment. More than 100 different VOCs was identified and the most noticeable were meta-, ortho- and para-xylene, toluene, n-hexane and propylene glycol, all but the last compound is associated with hazardous health effects. The building materials that emitted the largest amounts of VOCs was sealants and adhesives. Linoleum flooring and acrylic was also large emitters. Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCIPP) were identified in all samples and all nine targeted OPFR compounds were identified in the various material samples and dust samples. T-Flex tape and plastic film was the sample materials that emitted most OPFR compounds.
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