Techniques for Reducing Exposures to Volatile Organic Compounds Associated with New Construction and Renovation

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Chamber experiments were conducted with a combination of latex paints and new carpet and vinyl flooring assemblies. The first objective was to characterize the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the assemblies at simulated residential conditions. The second objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of techniques that homeowners and building managers might employ during new construction or renovation to reduce concentrations of VOCs and exposures to these VOCs. The techniques included: increased ventilation for three days following installation (each source); airing out of materials for two days prior to installation (carpet and vinyl flooring); and mild heating for three days following installation (combined sources). Short-term ventilation typically reduced VOC concentrations in room air only during the period of increased ventilation. Airing out of materials generally reduced the emissions of VOCs from carpet materials but was ineffective for VOCs emitted by vinyl flooring. Heating applied after materials were installed had mixed results.

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