Use of Volatile Tracers to Determine the Contribution of Environmental Tobacco Smoke to Concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds in Smoking Environments
Three volatile nitrogen-containing compounds, 3-ethenylpyridine (3-EP), pyridine and pyrrole, were investigated as potential tracers for determining the contribution of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) to concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in indoor environments with smoking. The source emission rates of the three tracers and ten selected VOCs in ETS were first measured in a room-size environmental chamber for a market-weighted selection of six commercial cigarettes. The ratios of the emission rates of the tracers to the emission rates of the selected VOCs were calculated and compared among the six brands. The utility of the tracers was then evaluated in a field study conducted in five office buildings. Samples for VOCs were collected in designated smoking areas and adjoining non-smoking areas, air change rates were measured, and smoking rates were documented. Concentrations of the three tracers in the smoking areas were calculated using a mass-balance model and compared to their measured concentrations. Based on this comparison, 3-EP was selected as the most suitable tracer for the volatile components of ETS, although pyrrole is also potentially useful. Using 3-EP as the tracer, the contributions of ETS to the measured concentrations of the selected VOCs in the smoking areas were estimated by apportionment. ETS was estimated to contribute 57% to 84% (4.1 to 26 μg m−3) of the formaldehyde concentrations, 44–69% (0.9 to 5.8 μg m−3) of the 2-butanone concentrations, 37 to 58% (1.3 to 8.2 μg m−3) of the benzene concentrations, and 20 to 69% (0.5 to 3.0 μg m−3) of the styrene concentrations. The fractional contributions of ETS to the concentrations of acetone, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene isomers, and d-limonene were all less than 50%.