Indoor volatile organic compounds in atopy patients' houses in South Korea

Dal Woong Choi, Kyong Whan Moon, Sang Hoon Byeon, Eun Il Lee, Dong Geun Sul, Jang Hee Lee, Eun Ha Oh, Young Hwan Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This study was undertaken to determine the concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the indoor air of atopy patients' (atopic dermatitis 50, allergic asthma 36) and control houses (28 nonpatients). A goal of this study was also to investigate whether indoor VOCs were risk factors for the development of atopic sensitization. Eleven alkanes, 13 aromatics, 7 chlorinated hydrocarbons, 3 terpenes, and 15 aldehyds were measured from 10 March to 15 June, 2006. Aldehyde compounds are the most abundant chemical group in all indoor air, followed by aromatic compounds. The geometric mean concentrations of total VOC (TVOC) in indoor air in atopic dermatitis and allergic asthma patients' houses were 317.1 and 219.2 mg m -3, respectively. However, TVOC concentrations did not differ significantly between control and patient houses in indoor and outdoor air. The geometric mean concentrations of benzene, ethylbenzene (p<0.05), o-xylene, m-, p-xylene, styrene, levels of 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene and formaldehyde (p<0.01) in the indoor air of houses of patients with atopic dermatitis, and levels of o-xylene and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene (p<0.01) in houses of allergic asthma patients were significantly higher than those in control houses. The multiple linear regression model in this study indicated several indoor origins of VOCs. House age and floor or wall coverings that had been refurbished within 1 year were correlated with higher concentrations of formaldehyde. Limonene and α-pinene concentrations were significantly increased by the replacement of furniture and the use of cleaning products. The type of heating system was significantly associated with indoor benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, nonane, decane, and undecane concentrations in atopy patient houses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalIndoor and Built Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Apr


  • Allergic asthma
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Formaldehyde
  • Indoor air quality
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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