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Building Materials and Indoor Air Quality

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In, Hodgson, M. and Cone, J., eds., Problem Buildings, Building Associated Illness and Sick Building Syndrome, State of the Art Reviews in Occupational Medicine, Fall 1989. New building materials, products, and furnishings are known to emit a large number of organic chemicals into indoor air. Building occupants’ sickness, irritation, and discomforts are often blamed on the presence of such chemicals in indoor air.  Most of the chemicals of concern are either volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or semi-orgnaic compounds (SVOCs). VOCs have vapor pressures down to 10-5 or 10-6 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg); SVOCs have lower vapor pressures.  Building designers, owners, operators, occupants, and product manufacturers are increasingly concered about the problems related to indoor air contaminants emitted from building products and furnishings.