Attached garages are known to be associated with indoor air volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This study looked at indoor exposure to VOCs presumably from evaporative emissions of gasoline. Alaskan gasoline contains 5% benzene making benzene a marker for gasoline exposure. A survey of randomly chosen houses with attached garages was done in Anchorage Alaska to determine the exposure and assess respiratory health. Householders were asked to complete a health survey for each person and a household survey. They monitored indoor air in their primary living space for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes for one week using passive organic vapor monitoring badges. Benzene levels in homes ranged from undetectable to 58 parts per billion. The median benzene level in 509 homes tested was 2.96 ppb. Elevated benzene levels in the home were strongly associated with small engines and gasoline stored in the garage. High concentrations of benzene in gasoline increase indoor air levels of benzene in residences with attached garages exposing people to benzene at levels above ATSDR's minimal risk level. Residents reported more severe symptoms of asthma in the homes with high gasoline exposure (16%) where benzene levels exceeded the 9 ppb.
Keywords: MRLs; VOCs; aromatics; benzene; gasoline exposure.