The effect of ventilation on indoor exposure to semivolatile organic compounds



A mechanistic model was developed to examine how natural ventilation influences residential indoor exposure to semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) via inhalation, dermal sorption, and dust ingestion. The effect of ventilation on indoor particle mass concentration and mass transfer at source/sink surfaces, and the enhancing effect of particles on mass transfer at source/sink surfaces are included. When air exchange rate increases from 0.6/h to 1.8/h, the steady-state SVOC (gas-phase plus particle phase with log KOA varying from 9 to 13) concentration in the idealized model decreases by about 60%. In contrast, for the same change in ventilation, the simulated indoor formaldehyde (representing volatile organic compounds) gas-phase concentration decreases by about 70%. The effect of ventilation on exposure via each pathway has a relatively insignificant association with the KOA of the SVOCs: a change of KOA from 109 to 1013 results in a change of only 2–30%. Sensitivity analysis identifies the deposition rate of PM2.5 as a primary factor influencing the relationship between ventilation and exposure for SVOCs with log KOA = 13. The relationship between ventilation rate and air speed near surfaces needs to be further substantiated.