Methyl-Tertiary Butyl Ether(MTBE) and BTEX Inside and Outside Apartments with Different Construction Age

  • Jo, Wan-Kuen (Department of Environmental Engineering, Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Lee, Jong-Hyo (Division of Environmental Management, Kumho Petroleum Co.)
  • Published : 2010.01.31


Only limited information is available on the measured exposure levels of residents according to the construction age of apartments. As such, present study was conducted to measure and to compare the bedroom, living-room, and outdoor air levels of MTBE and benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and m,p-xylene(BTEX) in both newer and older apartments. For both newer and older apartments, all the compounds except for MTBE showed significantly higher levels in bedrooms or living-rooms as compared to the outdoor concentrations. The ratio of bedroom or living-room median concentration to outdoor concentration was close to 1 for MTBE, whereas it was larger than 1 for other target compounds. It was also found that the bedroom and living-room appeared to have similar indoor sources and sinks for BTEX, but not for MTBE. The median concentration ratios of the newer apartments to the older apartments ranged from 1.63 to 1.81, depending upon the compounds. In contrast, the MTBE concentrations did not differ significantly between the newer and older apartments, thereby suggesting that although newer buildings could emit more VOCs, this is not applicable to all VOCs. Conclusively, the findings of present study should be considered, when designing exposure studies associated with VOC emissions in buildings and/or managing indoor air quality according to construction age of buildings.




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