Contaminant levels, source strengths, and ventilation rates in California retail stores
This field study measured ventilation rates and indoor air quality in 21 visits to retail stores in California. Three types of stores, such as grocery, furniture/hardware stores, and apparel, were sampled. Ventilation rates measured using a tracer gas decay method exceeded the minimum requirement of California's Title 24 Standard in all but one store. Concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ozone, and carbon dioxide measured indoors and outdoors were analyzed. Even though there was adequate ventilation according to standard, concentrations of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde exceeded the most stringent chronic health guidelines in many of the sampled stores. The whole-building emission rates of VOCs were estimated from the measured ventilation rates and the concentrations measured indoor and outdoor. Estimated formaldehyde emission rates suggest that retail stores would need to ventilate at levels far exceeding the current Title 24 requirement to lower indoor concentrations below California's stringent formaldehyde reference level. Given the high costs of providing ventilation, effective source control is an attractive alternative.