Evaluation of sink effects on VOCs from a latex paint

J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 1998 Oct;48(10):953-8.


The sink strength of two common indoor materials, a carpet and a gypsum board, was evaluated by environmental chamber tests with four volatile organic compounds (VOCs): propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, 2-(2-butoxyethoxy)ethanol (BEE), and Texanol. These oxygenated compounds represent the major VOCs emitted from a latex paint. Each chamber test included two phases. Phase 1 was the dosing/sorption period during which sink materials (pieces of carpet and gypsum board samples) were exposed to the four VOCs. The sink strength of each material tested was characterized by the amount of the VOCs adsorbed or absorbed. Phase 2 was the purging/desorption period during which the chambers with the dosed sink materials were flushed with purified air. The reemission rates of the adsorbed VOCs from the sinks were reflected by the amount of the VOCs being flushed. Phase 1 results indicated that the sink strength for the four target compounds is more than 1 order of magnitude higher than that for other VOCs previously tested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The high sink strength reflected the unusually high sorption capacity of common indoor materials for the four VOCs. Phase 2 results showed that reemission was an extremely slow process. If all the VOCs adsorbed were reemittable, it would take more than a year to completely flush out the VOCs from the sink materials tested. The long reemission process can result in chronic and low-level exposure to the VOCs after painting interior walls and surfaces.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Hydrocarbons / analysis*
  • Paint / analysis*


  • Hydrocarbons