Design and Characterization of a Small Chamber for Chemical and Biological Evaluation of Sources of Indoor Air Contamination

    Published: Jan 1996

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    The potential for emissions from materials used indoors to cause sensory irritation has prompted several researchers to adapt the mouse bioassay, ASTM E 981, for evaluation of irritancy potential of product emissions. Standardized test procedures that produce comparable results are needed if bioassays, such as ASTM E 981, are to be used to rank and compare products based upon the irritation potential of product emissions.

    We designed, constructed, and determined performance characteristics for a 34-L source emissions chamber, which mates directly to the 2.3-L mouse exposure chamber specified by ASTM E 981 and found the glass chamber to be without significant air leaks and background emissions. Reversible adsorption of decane and p-dichlorobenzene was noted. We found it necessary to add a circulation fan inside the chamber to create air velocities that are representative of those found in indoor environments. The well controlled thermal environment and straight forward connection of the chamber to the mouse exposure chamber used in ASTM E 981 are features that may make this chamber useful in development and evaluation of protocols for biological characterization of product emissions.


    indoor air, source characterization, chemical emissions characterization, bioassay, sensory irritation, volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

    Author Information:

    Mason, MA
    Environmental scientist, US EPA, National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Indoor Air Branch (MD-54), Research Triangle Park, NC

    Roache, NF
    Analytical chemist and senior scientist, Acurex Environmental Corporation, Research Triangle Park, NC

    Guo, Z
    Analytical chemist and senior scientist, Acurex Environmental Corporation, Research Triangle Park, NC

    Costa, D
    Chief, US EPA, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (MD-82), Research Triangle Park, NC

    Committee/Subcommittee: D22.01

    DOI: 10.1520/STP15615S

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