Recently published studies where individual volatile organic compounds(VOCs) have been identified and quantified have been reviewed. Mean concentrations of the compounds have been calculated for public places, homes,and transportation environments. Where the data were available to differentiate between smoking and non-smoking areas these have been summarised. Studies which have attempted to assess health impacts such as odour and irritation in conjunction with VOCs appear to be using unrealistic mixtures and concentrations of VOCs compared to those found in real life situations. Future research employing more realistic concentrations of VOCs will aid in understanding the true effect VOCs may have on indoor air quality and the persons exposed in that environment. Research using the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) animal bioassay E981-84 may provide a reasonable method for establishment of human exposure guidelines. Concentrations found to cause irritation in humans are higher than typical indoor levels found in this review. Irritation is unlikely to occur at the mean levels reported herein. In general, where ventilation rates meet or exceed the requirements of ASHRAE Standard 62-1989, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality,TVOC levels are low, usually less than 1 mg/m3 and concentrations of individual VOCs are well below (less than 1%) any recognised occupational exposure standard.

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