Emissions of 1,2-Dichloroethane from Holiday Decorations as a Source of Indoor Air Contamination



Groundwater contamination associated with an industrial facility in Utah has led to concerns about potential vapor intrusion into residences outside the facility boundary. Trichloroethylene (TCE) is the main contaminant of concern with 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) present in some areas. An air-monitoring program implemented to detect vapor intrusion of these compounds found 1,2-DCA in homes outside areas of groundwater contamination, suggesting indoor sources in these cases. Investigative indoor air and product sampling were conducted to isolate consumer products emitting 1,2-DCA and to quantify the emission rates of identified products. The combination of room-by-room air sampling and emission measurements was successfully used to identify molded plastic holiday ornaments, having measured emission rates as high as 0.3 µg 1,2-DCA/min. Subsequent testing of seven comparable retail items found similar 1,2-DCA emissions. Screening-level calculations show that the measured emission rates of 1,2-DCA from these items can lead to indoor concentrations high enough to be of regulatory concern (0.094 to 9.4 µg/m3 based on 10–6 to 10–4 cancer risk levels).