LBNL Report: Classification of Measured Indoor Volatile Organic Compounds Based on Noncancer Health and Comfort Considerations
Building occupants are exposed to complex mixtures of air pollutants including many volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A recent review summarized the central tendency and upper limit indoor VOC concentrations measured in North American residences and office buildings since 1990. Although this database is limited in many respects, it serves as a useful starting point for evaluating the potential health and comfort effects of indoor VOC exposures. Excluding cancer and birth defects, the primary concern is chronic inhalation exposure to toxicants that can cause serious health problems. Additionally, building occupants react to the quality of indoor air through their sensory perceptions and frequently experience unpleasant odors and irritation of the eyes and upper respiratory tract.