Characterization of indoor air pollution  

Project Title: Characterization of indoor air pollution

Applicant: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Total Approved Grant: $149,000

Duration: 1/1/2000 - 31/12/2000

Status: Completed


(1) To characterize the indoor air quality emissions from building construction materials by using a dynamic environmental chamber.

(2) To determine short- and long-term emission rates of particulate, radon and total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) as wells as individual VOC from selected types of building materials/products in the environmental chamber under selected environmental condition.

(3) To evaluate the effectiveness of air cleaner on indoor air emissions from building construction materials/products.

(4) To develop pollution prevention solutions to reduce indoor air emissions from building construction materials/products supplies.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:

  • A room-size environmental chamber was set up for the research. The door of the room was sealed with silicone gasket material and the interior surface was constructed with stainless steel.

  • All gas analyzers were calibrated with standard gases at a regular period according to the USEPA standard.

  • Measurement conducted for emissions from wood floor polish, waterborne acrylic paint, solvent-based paint, lacquer, low-emission paint, wallpaper, which were separately tested under internal temperature in the room at 23C, 35C and 50C and further under relative humidity (RH) levels at 50%, 70% and 95%, and tests were also conducted under different substrates including aluminium board and plasterboard.

  • All TVOC emission rates from the selected building materials, excluding from plaster, exceed Level 2 of the Guidance Note (GN) published by the IAQMG of HKSAR. Emission rate from solvent-based paint is almost 10,000 times higher than Level 2 of the GN. The TVOC emission rates under 23C and 50%RH testing conditions are in the following order : solvent-based paint > lacquer > wood polish > wallpaper with aluminium board > wallpaper with plastic board > waterborne paint > low-emission paint.