Indoor air quality, air exchange rates, and radioactivity in new built temporary houses following the Great East Japan Earthquake in Minamisoma, Fukushima


N. Shinohara

Research Institute of Science for Safety and Sustainability (RISS)

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)

16-1 Onogawa Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8569 Japan

Tel.: +81-29-861-8030

Fax: +81-29-861-8411



This study measured air exchange rates, indoor concentrations of aldehydes and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and radioactivity levels at 19 temporary houses in different temporary housing estate constructed in Minamisoma City following the Great East Japan Earthquake. The 19 surveyed houses represented all of the companies assigned to construct temporary houses in that Minamisoma City. Data were collected shortly after construction and before occupation, from August 2011 to January 2012. Mean air exchange rates in the temporary houses were 0.28/h, with no variation according to housing types and construction date. Mean indoor concentrations of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, toluene, ethylbenzene, m/p-xylene, o-xylene, styrene, p-dichlorobenzene, tetradecane, and total VOCs (TVOCs) were 29.2, 72.7, 14.6, 6.35, 3.05, 1.81, 7.29, 14.3, 8.32, and 901 μg/m3, respectively. The levels of acetaldehyde and TVOCs exceeded the indoor guideline (48 μg/m3) and interim target (400 μg/m3) in more than half of the 31 rooms tested. In addition to guideline chemicals, terpenes (α-pinene and d-limonene) and acetic esters (butyl acetate and ethyl acetate) were often detected in these houses. The indoor radiation levels measured by a Geiger–Müller tube (Mean: 0.22 μSv/h) were lower than those recorded outdoors (Mean: 0.42 μSv/h), although the shielding effect of the houses was less than for other types of buildings.