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Indoor levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in homes with or without wood burning for heating.

Journal article
Authors Pernilla Gustafson
Conny Östman
Gerd Sällsten
Published in Environmental science & technology
Volume 42
Issue 14
Pages 5074-80
ISSN 0013-936X
Publication year 2008
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 5074-80
Language en
Keywords wood burning, exposure assessment, PAH
Subject categories Chemistry


The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of domestic wood burning on indoor levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Indoor and outdoor concentrations of 27 PAHs were measured during wintertime in homes with (n= 13) or without (n 0) wood-burning appliances and at an ambient site in a Swedish residential area where wood burning for space heating is common. Twenty-four hour indoor levels of anthracene, benzo(ghi)fluoranthene, cyclopenta(cd)pyrene, benz(a)anthracene, chrysene/triphenylene, benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene, benzo(ghi)perylene, and coronene were significantly (about 3- to 5-fold) higher in homes with, compared with homes without, wood-burning appliances. The outdoor levels of PAHs were generally higher than the indoor levelsfor all PAHs exceptforthe methylated phenanthrenes. The total PAH cancer potency (sum of BaP equivalents) was significantly higher (about 4 times) in the wood-burning homes compared with the reference homes, with BaP being the largest contributor, while phenanthrene made the largest contribution to the total PAH concentration in indoor and outdoor air. The median indoor BaP level in the wood-burning homes (0.52 ng/m3) was 5 times higher than the Swedish health-based guideline of 0.1 ng/m3, which was also exceeded outdoors on all days (median 0.37 ng/m3).

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