SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1996

Vapor-Phase Organic Compounds in Canadian Residences


A national average of 0.464 mg/m3 was calculated for the total concentration of 40 organic compounds detected previously in 757 randomly selected Canadian homes. Reanalysis of a composite sample representative of all the homes by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry allowed quantitation of 52 additional compounds. Overall, the total of concentrations for the 92 vapor-phase organic compounds (VPOCs) averaged 0.829 mg/m3 in the homes. The average total VPOCs burden was estimated to be at least 1.4 mg/m3, and probably >2 mg/m3, when extraction recoveries and unidentified organics in the composite sample were considered. Factor analysis of data for 26 VOCs and other variables collected in the national pilot study indicated associations between some variables (for example, hydrocarbons, season, temperature, humidity). Possible sources (fuels, carpets, paints, etc.) of the 26 VOCs were identified by comparison of the factor analysis results with information in the Canadian Indoor Source Profile database and the scientific literature.

Author Information

Otson, R
Health Canada, Environmental Health Center, Tunney's Pasture, Ottawa, ON, Canada
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Developed by Committee: E47
Pages: 66–76
DOI: 10.1520/STP15460S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5323-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2048-8