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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Georgia Southern: VOC and Particle Concentrations in New and Old Model Automobiles.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are linked to many health effects including eye, nose and throat irritations, headaches, damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system, and sometimes cancers. A recent study supervised by Dr. Atin Adhikari (assistant professor of Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health) and conducted by two students Mr. J. Edward Dotherow and Mr. Deonte Martin examined VOCs and airborne particles emitted from vehicle dashboards, paneling and interior components.

The purpose of this pilot study was to compare the VOC and airborne particle concentration levels between new model (<10 years old) and old model (>10 years old) automobiles. VOC and particle measurements were conducted at the beginning of business operations and then again four hours later to assess the impact of temperature on material emissions of VOCs. Morning VOC measurements in new and old model automobiles ranged from <LOD to 6.60 ppm (mean ± SD: 1.168 ± 2.005 ppm) and <LOD to 0.60 ppm (mean ± SD: 0.0285 ± 0.0182), respectively. Afternoon VOC measurements for both models ranged from 0.22 to 6.62 ppm (mean ± SD: 2.952 ± 1.714 ppm and <LOD to 12.12 ppm (mean ± SD: 3.106 ± 3.722), respectively.

Interestingly, unlike new model automobiles, old models of automobiles showed statistically significant positive correlations between temperature increase and VOC levels (< 0.05). New model automobiles emit significantly higher levels of VOCs than older models during morning hours (< 0.05).

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