Study of Volatile Organic Chemicals in Air of Fuel Oil Heated Homes

A copy of the Study of Volatile Organic Chemicals in Air of Fuel Oil Heated Homes is available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF, 13KB, 2pg.).

A copy of the Indoor Air Sampling and Analysis Guidance document is also available.

Between 1997 and 2003, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) conducted a study of the occurrence of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in the indoor air of homes that heat with fuel oil. The purpose of the study was to characterize the indoor environment of fuel oil heated homes as a means of evaluating post clean-up conditions in residences affected by petroleum spills. The study included basement, living space and outdoor samples from 104 homes, tested during both heating and non-heating seasons. Most of the more than 600 samples collected in the study were analyzed for 69 individual VOCs. This summary report presents the results to help characterize commonly found concentrations of these 69 compounds in the indoor and outdoor air of residential settings heated with fuel oil.

The study is comprised of single family homes heated with fuel oil. With the exception of New York City, homes from across the state were included in the study, with the majority of the homes being near the Albany area. Prospective residences were required to have no past oil spills, no hobbies or home business that regularly use products containing VOCs, and no recent activities utilizing products that contain VOCs (e.g. painting, staining). A pre-sampling inspection was conducted in each home and included completing a building questionnaire to gather building information such as age, basement characteristics, heating and ventilation parameters, location of fuel oil tank, garage placement, etc. and an inventory of products that might be sources of indoor VOCs. When present, the products and their ingredients were listed on the inventory form. In addition, the product containers were screened with a photoionization detector (PID) to identify potential chemical interference during each sampling event and elevated readings were noted on the inventory forms. In most homes, gross sources of VOCs were not identified and containers were generally found to be tightly sealed. In some homes the PID detected elevated VOC levels associated with a product; however, the products were not removed and samples were still collected.

Sampling was performed in a manner consistent with the NYSDOH's February 1, 2005 Indoor Air Sampling and Analysis Guidance. This Guidance is an updated version of the 1997 Draft Indoor Air Sampling and Analysis Protocol and the 2001 Indoor Air Sampling and Analysis Guidance documents, and reflects the procedures followed during the study. Two-hour samples were collected in 6-liter pre-cleaned, passivated, evacuated whole air canisters prepared and analyzed at the NYSDOH's Wadsworth Center laboratory. The samples were analyzed in accordance with EPA Method TO-15 utilizing a Tekmar® AutoCan® concentrator / Agilent® 6890/5973 GC/MSD analytical system. The method detection limits for all compounds except hexachlorobutadiene were 0.25 micrograms per cubic meter. The method detection limit for hexachlorobutadiene was 0.43µg/m3.

The dataset exhibits a lognormal distribution typical of environmental data. The summary table contains the 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th percentile values and the upper fence value for each compound. The upper fence is calculated as 1.5 times the interquartile range (difference between the 25th and 75th percentile values) above the 75th percentile value. The upper fence is a boundary used for identifying the presence of outliers in the data. In cases where the 25th or 75th percentiles were below the laboratory detection limit of 0.25 µg/m3, randomly generated values between 0.000 and 0.250 were used in calculating the upper fence. All of the values calculated for the lower fence were negative and are not included in the table. For hexachlorobutadiene, the randomly generated values used to calculate the upper fence ranged from 0.000 to 0.430. All of the values are adjusted to two significant figures.

Summary of Indoor and Outdoor Levels of Volatile Organic Compounds from Fuel Oil Heated Homes in NYS, 1997-2003

All Results are Micrograms Per Cubic Meter

Revised November 14, 2005

  Indoor Outdoor
Chemical N ND(%) 25th Pctl 50th Pctl 75th Pctl 90th Pctl Upper F N ND(%) 25th Pctl 50th Pctl 75th Pctl 90th Pctl Upper F
1,1,1-TRICHLOROETHANE 400 41.5% <0.25 0.33 1.1 3.1 2.5 200 62.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.33 0.60 0.64
1,1,2,2-TETRACHLOROETHANE 400 96.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.38 200 99.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.36
1,1,2-TRICHLOROETHANE 400 96.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.38 200 99.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.34
1,1,2-TRICHLOROTRIFLUOROETHANE 400 44.5% <0.25 0.54 1.1 1.8 2.5 200 48.5% <0.25 0.46 1.1 1.9 2.5
1,1-DICHLOROETHANE 400 99.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.38 200 100.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.36
1,1-DICHLOROETHENE 400 93.3% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.40 200 99.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.40
1,2,3-TRIMETHYLBENZENE 400 41.0% <0.25 0.39 1.1 2.7 2.5 200 82.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.39 0.46
1,2,4-TRICHLOROBENZENE 400 79.8% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 3.4 0.47 200 84.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 2.3 0.44
1,2,4-TRIMETHYLBENZENE 400 12.3% 0.69 1.9 4.3 9.5 9.8 200 54.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.81 1.8 1.9
1,2-DIBROMOETHANE 400 99.3% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.38 200 99.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.37
1,2-DICHLOROBENZENE 400 78.8% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.72 0.48 200 83.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.60 0.42
1,2-DICHLOROETHANE 400 98.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.37 200 99.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.42
1,2-DICHLOROPROPANE 400 97.8% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.39 200 97.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.40
1,2-DICHLOROTETRAFLUOROETHANE 400 87.3% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.52 0.42 200 84.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.56 0.48
1,3,5-TRIMETHYLBENZENE 400 25.0% 0.27 0.64 1.7 3.6 3.9 200 71.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.34 0.69 0.71
1,3-DICHLOROBENZENE 400 79.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.60 0.46 200 85.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.48 0.42
1,4-DICHLOROBENZENE 400 66.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.54 1.3 1.2 200 82.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.54 0.46
2,3-DIMETHYLPENTANE 400 32.3% <0.25 0.65 2.2 7.5 5.2 200 73.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.31 0.96 0.66
2,4-DIMETHYLPENTANE 400 35.8% <0.25 0.57 2.0 7.7 4.7 200 69.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.37 0.84 0.78
ACETONE 227 5.3% 10 21 52 110 115 114 6.1% 3.4 6.4 14 44 30
ALPHA-PINENE 400 19.8% 0.33 1.5 4.4 14 10 200 61.0% <0.25 <0.25 0.53 2.0 1.2
BENZENE 400 7.0% 1.1 2.1 5.9 15 13 200 9.0% 0.57 1.3 2.3 4.3 4.8
BROMOMETHANE 400 77.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.60 0.48 200 81.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.47 0.45
CARBON TETRACHLORIDE 400 50.3% <0.25 <0.25 0.59 0.81 1.3 200 54.0% <0.25 <0.25 0.6 0.81 1.2
CHLOROBENZENE 400 99.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.41 200 100.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.38
CHLOROETHANE 400 90.3% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.39 200 94.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.40
CHLOROFORM 400 53.0% <0.25 <0.25 0.54 1.4 1.2 200 84.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.39 0.48
CHLOROMETHANE 400 46.0% <0.25 0.50 1.8 3.3 4.2 200 48.0% <0.25 0.51 1.8 3.2 4.3
CIS-1,2-DICHLOROETHENE 400 91.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.41 200 96.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.38
CIS-1,3-DICHLOROPROPENE 400 97.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.38 200 97.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.40
CYCLOHEPTANE 400 39.8% <0.25 0.52 1.3 3.1 2.9 200 74.0% <0.25 <0.25 0.28 0.68 0.56
CYCLOHEXANE 400 31.3% <0.25 0.81 2.6 8.1 6.3 200 68.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.43 1.3 0.94
DICHLORODIFLUOROMETHANE 400 53.8% <0.25 <0.25 4.1 15 10 200 54.0% <0.25 <0.25 4.2 7.5 10
d-LIMONENE 400 19.3% 0.50 2.8 8.4 24 20 199 77.9% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.83 0.48
ETHYL ALCOHOL 227 1.3% 27 160 540 1400 1300 114 0.9% 3.3 6.9 16 31 34
ETHYLBENZENE 400 14.5% 0.41 1.0 2.8 7.4 6.4 200 53.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.48 1.1 1.0
ETHYLCYCLOHEXANE 400 37.3% <0.25 0.44 1.2 2.6 2.8 200 82.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.46 0.45
ETHYLMETHACRYLATE 227 94.7% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.39 114 100.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.38
HEXACHLORO-1,3-BUTADIENE 400 76.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 4.6 0.49 200 81.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 2.3 0.46
ISO-OCTANE 400 32.5% <0.25 0.56 2.1 6.5 5.0 200 69.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.33 0.87 0.67
ISOPRENE 400 11.0% 0.81 2.0 4.3 8.8 9.5 200 55.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.86 2.8 2.0
ISOPROPYLBENZENE 400 64.8% <0.25 <0.25 0.39 0.88 0.82 200 91.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.38
M,P-XYLENE 400 13.5% 0.50 1.5 4.6 12 11 200 55.0% <0.25 <0.25 0.48 1.4 1.0
METHYL ETHYL KETONE 227 8.8% 1.4 3.4 7.3 16 16 114 7.0% 0.76 1.3 2.6 6.3 5.3
METHYL ISOBUTYL KETONE 227 44.9% <0.25 0.33 0.86 2.2 1.9 114 75.4% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.94 0.50
METHYLCYCLOHEXANE 400 28.0% <0.25 0.68 1.9 6.4 4.5 200 70.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.34 0.78 0.70
METHYLENE CHLORIDE 400 22.3% 0.31 1.4 6.6 22 16 200 50.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.73 1.6 1.6
METHYLMETHACRYLATE 227 86.8% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.45 0.43 114 96.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.41
METHYL-tert-BUTYL ETHER 227 30.4% <0.25 0.79 5.6 27 14 114 46.5% <0.25 0.27 0.86 2.1 1.9
n-BUTYLBENZENE 400 55.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.49 1.2 1.1 200 87.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.33 0.41
n-DECANE 400 10.0% 1.2 2.7 6.6 16 15 200 32.5% <0.25 0.84 2.0 2.6 4.7
n-DODECANE 400 18.3% 0.42 1.5 3.9 11 9.2 200 47.0% <0.25 0.45 1.9 4.5 4.5
n-HEPTANE 400 4.8% 1.0 2.8 7.6 19 18 200 28.5% <0.25 0.49 1.0 2.6 2.2
n-HEXANE 400 12.5% 0.63 1.6 6.0 18 14 200 39.5% <0.25 0.42 0.88 1.6 2.0
n-NONANE 400 16.3% 0.37 1.3 3.4 8.8 7.9 200 65.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.37 0.78 0.74
n-OCTANE 400 21.0% 0.33 0.89 2.3 4.2 5.2 200 56.0% <0.25 <0.25 0.65 1.2 1.5
n-PROPYLBENZENE 400 51.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.69 1.7 1.5 200 92.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.39
n-UNDECANE 400 14.8% 0.57 1.8 5.0 12 12 200 52.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.67 1.7 1.5
O-XYLENE 400 17.8% 0.39 1.1 3.1 7.6 7.1 200 60.0% <0.25 <0.25 0.56 1.7 1.2
sec-BUTYLBENZENE 400 56.3% <0.25 <0.25 0.55 1.2 1.2 200 80.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.44 0.46
STYRENE 400 43.8% <0.25 0.30 0.64 1.3 1.4 200 79.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.43 0.45
tert-BUTYLBENZENE 400 57.0% <0.25 <0.25 0.60 1.6 1.3 200 88.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.27 0.44
TETRACHLOROETHENE 400 46.8% <0.25 0.34 1.1 2.9 2.5 200 71.5% <0.25 <0.25 0.34 0.81 0.68
TETRAHYDROFURAN 227 72.2% <0.25 <0.25 0.35 3.3 0.78 114 94.7% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.40
TOLUENE 400 6.3% 3.5 9.6 24.8 58 57 200 6.0% 0.60 1.3 2.4 5.9 5.1
TRANS-1,3-DICHLOROPROPENE 400 100.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.40 200 100.0% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.41
TRICHLOROETHENE 400 80.8% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.48 0.46 200 88.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.32 0.43
TRICHLOROFLUOROMETHANE 400 10.5% 1.1 2.9 5.4 17 12 200 35.0% <0.25 0.78 2.2 3.6 5.1
VINYL CHLORIDE 400 96.8% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.37 200 98.5% <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 <0.25 0.39
N: Total Number of Samples
ND(%): % of nondetects
Upper F: Upper Fence, see accompanying text for this calculation

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