Outdoor, indoor, and personal exposure to VOCs in children

John L. Adgate, Timothy R. Church, Andrew D. Ryan, Gurumurthy Ramachandran, Ann L. Fredrickson, Thomas H. Stock, Maria T. Morandi, Ken Sexton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


We measured volatile organic compound (VOC) exposures in multiple locations for a diverse population of children who attended two inner-city schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fifteen common VOCs were measured at four locations: outdoors (O), indoors at school (S), indoors at home (H), and in personal samples (P). Concentrations of most VOCs followed the general pattern O ≈ S < P ≤ H across the measured microenvironments. The S and O environments had the smallest and H the largest influence on personal exposure to most compounds. A time-weighted model of P exposure using all measured microenvironments and time-activity data provided little additional explanatory power beyond that provided by using the H measurement alone. Although H and P concentrations of most VOCs measured in this study were similar to or lower than levels measured in recent personal monitoring studies of adults and children in the United States, p-dichlorobenzene was the notable exception to this pattern, with upper-bound exposures more than 100 times greater than those found in other studies of children. Median and upper-bound H and P exposures were well above health benchmarks for several compounds, so outdoor measurements likely underestimate long-term health risks from children's exposure to these compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1386-1392
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution
  • Elementary school children
  • Ethnicity
  • Health risk
  • Race
  • SHIELD study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Outdoor, indoor, and personal exposure to VOCs in children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this