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Vehicle Interior Air Quality: Volatile Organic Compounds

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Speech

Publication date22/03/2018
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventThe Annual International Portable Emission Measurement Systems Conference - University of California, Riverside, Riverside, United States
Duration: 22/03/201823/03/2018


ConferenceThe Annual International Portable Emission Measurement Systems Conference
Abbreviated titlePEMS Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


The average person now spends more than 90% of their time indoors, with around one hour of this spent inside vehicles. This is referred to as Vehicle Interior Air Quality (VIAQ). This exposure is important to understand given the immediate proximity to significant pollutant sources (other vehicles), plus in urban areas, high outdoor concentrations. However, there are also significant sources of pollution from inside the vehicle. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), responsible for the “new car smell”, can be emitted from an array of interior parts and components: the dashboard, interior panels, flooring materials, and many others. Within the confined space of a vehicle, VOCs emitted from these components may reach levels that are potentially harmful to human occupants, causing symptoms such as nausea, allergies, fatigue, stinging eyes, and headaches. Beyond affecting drivers’ and passengers’ well-being and comfort, such symptoms may have also consequences on safe driving.

NAQTS and Emissions Analytics have been developing the technology and methodology to deepen our knowledge of VOCs concentrations, sources, and species inside vehicles. Incorporating the latest developments in low-cost sensor technologies alongside thermal desorption gas chromatography mass spectrometry (TD-GCMS), we can better understand absolute concentrations, temporal signatures, and full speciation, resulting in a holistic understanding of VIAQ VOCs.
This presentation will focus on:
• The regulatory context of VIAQ
• The technology to measure inside vehicles: challenges and opportunities
• Initial findings - Characterising VOCs emissions from interior components
• How to effectively present this information to the general public