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Sources of Propylene Glycol and Glycol Ethers in Air at Home

Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, USA
Norwegian Institute for Air Research, P.O. Box 100, NO-2027 Kjeller, Norway
Public Health Sciences, Karlstad University, SE-651 88 Karlstad, Sweden
SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Boras, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4213-4237;
Received: 16 October 2010 / Revised: 10 December 2010 / Accepted: 10 December 2010 / Published: 15 December 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Pollution and Human Health)
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Propylene glycol and glycol ether (PGE) in indoor air have recently been associated with asthma and allergies as well as sensitization in children. In this follow-up report, sources of the PGEs in indoor air were investigated in 390 homes of pre-school age children in Sweden. Professional building inspectors examined each home for water damages, mold odour, building’s structural characteristics, indoor temperature, absolute humidity and air exchange rate. They also collected air and dust samples. The samples were analyzed for four groups of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semi-VOCs (SVOCs), including summed concentrations of 16 PGEs, 8 terpene hydrocarbons, 2 Texanols, and the phthalates n-butyl benzyl phthalate (BBzP), and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP). Home cleaning with water and mop ≥ once/month, repainting ≥ one room prior to or following the child’s birth, and “newest” surface material in the child’s bedroom explained largest portion of total variability in PGE concentrations. High excess indoor humidity (g/m3) additionally contributed to a sustained PGE levels in indoor air far beyond several months following the paint application. No behavioral or building structural factors, except for water-based cleaning, predicted an elevated terpene level in air. No significant predictor of Texanols emerged from our analysis. Overall disparate sources and low correlations among the PGEs, terpenes, Texanols, and the phthalates further confirm the lack of confounding in the analysis reporting the associations of the PGE and the diagnoses of asthma, rhinitis, and eczema, respectively. View Full-Text
Keywords: indoor; volatile organic compound; glycol ether; asthma; solvent; children indoor; volatile organic compound; glycol ether; asthma; solvent; children
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Choi, H.; Schmidbauer, N.; Spengler, J.; Bornehag, C.-G. Sources of Propylene Glycol and Glycol Ethers in Air at Home. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 4213-4237.

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