By the same authors

From the same journal

Frequency of use of household products containing VOCs and indoor atmospheric concentrations in homes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Publication details

JournalEnvironmental Science: Processes and Impacts
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Apr 2021
DateE-pub ahead of print - 12 Apr 2021
DatePublished (current) - 1 May 2021
Issue number5
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)699-713
Early online date12/04/21
Original languageEnglish


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a key class of atmospheric emission released from highly complex petrochemical, transport and solvent sources both outdoors and indoors. This study established the concentrations and speciation of VOCs in 60 homes (204 individuals, 360 × 72 h samples, 40 species) in summer and winter, along with outdoor controls. Self-reported daily statistics were collected in each home on the use of cleaning, household and personal care products, all of which are known to release VOCs. Frequency of product use varied widely: deodorants: 2.9 uses home per day; sealant-mastics 0.02 uses home per day. The total concentration of VOCs indoors (range C2-C10) was highly variable between homes e.g. range 16.6-8150 μg m-3 in winter. Indoor concentrations of VOCs exceeded outdoor for 84% of households studied in summer and 100% of homes in winter. The most abundant VOCs found indoors in this study were n-butane (wintertime range: 1.5-4630 μg m-3), likely released as aerosol propellant, ethanol, acetone and propane. The cumulative use VOC-containing products over multiday timescales by occupants provided little predictive power to infer 72 hour averaged indoor concentrations. However, there was weak covariance between the cumulative usage of certain products and individual VOCs. From a domestic emissions perspective, reducing the use of hydrocarbon-based aerosol propellants indoors would likely have the largest impact.

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been enabled by a range of underpinning research support from the Natural Environment Research Council. ACL, NO, CJ, and GA designed the original experiment. AHH and MWW performed the laboratory measurements of VOCs using GC-FID and GC-MS. AHH, GH and SKG undertook the analysis and visualisation of data presented here. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript and the development of its conclusions. Data from this study is lodged at the Centre for Environment Data and Analysis (https://, a public data repository for the environmental sciences.

Funding Information:
Funding for in-home observations and measurements was provided by Givaudan UK Ltd. ACL receives support from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science NERC National Capability research programme in air pollution.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Discover related content

Find related publications, people, projects, datasets and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations