WIT Press

VOC and particle concentrations in new and old model automobiles


Free (open access)


Volume 3 (2019), Issue 2



Page Range

179 - 184

Paper DOI



WIT Press


J. Edward Dotherow, Deonte Martin & Atin Adhikari


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from vehicle dashboards, panelling and interior components are one of the primary contributors to poor automobile air quality. Exposure to VOCs can result in symptoms such as headaches and fatigue which can lead to unsafe driving. The purpose of this pilot study was to compare the VOC and airborne particle concentration levels between new model (<10 years old, N = 6) and old model (>10 years old, N = 4) automobiles. VOC and particle measurements were conducted at the beginning of business operations and then again four hours later to assess the impact of temperature on material emissions of VOCs. Morning VOC measurements in new and old model au- tomobiles ranged from <LOD to 6.60 ppm (mean ± SD: 1.168 ± 2.005 ppm) and <LOD to 0.60 ppm (mean ± SD: 0.0285 ± 0.0182), respectively. Afternoon VOC measurements for both models ranged from 0.22 to 6.62 ppm (mean ± SD: 2.952 ± 1.714 ppm and <LOD to 12.12 ppm (mean ± SD: 3.106 ± 3.722), respectively. Interestingly, unlike new model automobiles, old models of automobiles showed statistically significant positive correlations between temperature increase and VOC levels [Spearman’s rho in the mornings: 0.611 (p < 0.05; in the afternoons: 0.947 (p < 0.05)]. New model automobiles emit significantly higher levels of VOCs than older models during morning hours (p < 0.05).


automobiles, materials emissions, temperature, volatile organic compounds