Cross-Sectional Evaluation of Potential Volatile Organic Compound Exposures Around U.S. Schools
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Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), characterized by high vapor pressure and low water solubility, exist in gaseous phase at room temperature. Previous studies have suggested exposure to VOCs may be associated with adverse health effects such as asthma exacerbation and in some cases cancer. The major sources of outdoor VOCs include traffic and industrial emissions. Ambient VOCs can react with Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) in the presence of sunlight to form ground level ozone, one of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Criteria Air Pollutants. This thesis was designed to investigate the potential VOCs exposure among U.S. schoolchildren. Moreover, the influence of various neighborhood factors (urban vs. rural areas, distance from highways, presence/absence of industries) on VOCs concentrations around U.S. Schools was investigated. The findings of this thesis suggest that schools in urban areas, near industries and traffic activity have higher concentrations of VOCs compared to those not possessing such characteristics.