Most indoor air pollution comes from sources inside the building, such as adhesives, carpeting, wood products, cleaning products, and many others, which email volatile organic compounds, VOCs. The outdoor air that enters the buildingcan also be the main source of indoor air VOC pollution. The VOC indoor concentrations relate to the sick building syndrome, which affects the well being of its inhabitants.

One hundred and thirteen VOC compounds have been identified in an office environment. Their distribution by chemical family contribution is illustrated below.

VOC Distribution

  • Other
  • Alkanes
  • Aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Esters
  • Alkenes
  • Acids
  • Alcohols
  • Aldehydes
  • Halocarbons
  • Ketones
  • Terpenes
  • Organonitrogenates
  • Glycols

Further, the chemical breakdown of composition of each family is given in the following table labelled ‘The most common VOC components as members of different chemical families.

VOC Components by their Chemical Families.

Alkanes

n-Hexane, n-heptane, n-octane, n-nonane, n-decane, n-undercane, n-dodecane,  2-methylpentane, 3-methylpentane, n-tridecane, n-tetradecane, n-pentadecane, n-hexadecane, cyclohexane, methylcyclohexane

Alcohols

Ethanol, isopropanol, 1-butanol, 3-ethyl-1-hexanol

Glycols

2-Methoxyethanol, 1-methoxy-2-propanol, 2-ethoxyethanol, 2-buthoxyethanol, 2-buthoxyethoxy-ethanol

Aldehydes

Butanal, pentanal, hexanal, heptanal, n-nonanal, decanal, benzaldehyde, formaldehyde

Ketones

Acetone, methylethylketone, cyclohexanone, methylisobutylketone, acetophenone

Halocarbons

Dichloromethane, chloroform, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, p-dichlorobenzene, trichlo-ronitromethane, 1,1,1-trichloroethane

Esters

Methyl acetate, ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, iso-popylacetate, 2-ethoxyethyl acetate, texanol iso-butyrate

Aromatic hydrocarbons

Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, m+p-xylene, styrene, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, m-ethyltoluene, 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene, n-propylbenzene, naphthalene, tetrahydrofuran, 2-pentylfuran, o-ethyltoluene, p-ethyltoluene

Acids

Acetic acid, pentanoic acid, hexanoic acid, octanoic acid

Terpenes

a-Pinene, DL-limonene, β-Pinene, 3-carene

Amides

N, N-Dimethylformamide

Organosulfurs

Carbon disulfide

Organonitrogenates

Acetonitrile

Breaking Down VOCs in Real-time

Every VOC listed above can be broken down with a sequence involving oxidative atmospheric hydroxyls. Hydroxyls can be artificially generated indoors used to rapidly break down volatile chemicals.

For more information about hydroxyls, consult one of our environmental engineer from mr natural®.

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