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Indoor air quality and thermal comfort in temporary houses occupied after the Great East Japan Earthquake



Thermal conditions and indoor concentrations of aldehydes, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and NO2 were investigated in 19 occupied temporary houses in 15 temporary housing estates constructed in Minamisoma City, Fukushima, Japan. The data were collected in winter, spring, and summer in January to July 2012. Thermal conditions in temporary log houses in the summer were more comfortable than those in pre-fabricated houses. In the winter, the indoor temperature was uncomfortably low in all of the houses, particularly the temporary log houses. Indoor air concentrations for most aldehydes and VOCs were much lower than the indoor guidelines, except for those of p-dichlorobenzene, acetaldehyde, and total VOCs. The indoor p-dichlorobenzene concentrations exceeded the guideline (240 μg/m3) in 18% of the temporary houses, and the 10−3 cancer risk level (91 μg/m3) was exceeded in winter in 21% due to use of moth repellents by the occupants. Indoor acetaldehyde concentrations exceeded the guideline (48 μg/m3) in about half of the temporary houses, likely originating from the wooden building materials. Indoor NO2 concentrations in the temporary houses were significantly higher in houses where combustion heating appliances were used (0.17 ± 0.11 ppm) than in those where they were not used (0.0094 ± 0.0065 ppm).

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