Contribution of low vapor pressure-volatile organic compounds (LVP-VOCs) from consumer products to ozone formation in urban atmospheres

Hyeong Moo Shin, Thomas E. McKone, Deborah H Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Because recent laboratory testing indicates that some low vapor pressure-volatile organic compounds (LVP-VOC) solvents readily evaporate at ambient conditions, LVP-VOCs used in some consumer product formulations may contribute to ozone formation. The goal of this study is to determine the fraction of LVP-VOCs available for ozone formation from the use of consumer products for two hypothetical emissions. This study calculates and compares the fraction of consumed product available for ozone formation as a result of (a) volatilization to air during use and (b) down-the-drain disposal. The study also investigates the impact of different modes of releases on the overall fraction available in ambient air for ozone formation. For the portion of the LVP-VOCs volatilized to air during use, we applied a multi-compartment mass-balance model to track the fate of emitted LVP-VOCs in a multimedia urban environment. For the portion of the LVP-VOCs disposed down the drain, we used a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) fate model to predict the emission rates of LVP-VOCs to ambient air at WWTPs or at the discharge zone of the facilities and then used these results as emissions in the multimedia urban environment model. In a WWTP, the LVP-VOCs selected in this study are primarily either biodegraded or removed via sorption to sludge depending on the magnitude of the biodegradation half-life and the octanol-water partition coefficient. Less than 0.2% of the LVP-VOCs disposed down the drain are available for ozone formation. In contrast, when the LVP-VOC in a consumer product is volatilized from the surface to which it has been applied, greater than 90% is available for photochemical reactions either at the source location or in the downwind areas. Comparing results from these two modes of releases allows us to understand the importance of determining the fraction of LVP-VOCs volatilized versus disposed down the drain when the product is used by consumers. The results from this study provide important information and modeling tools to evaluate the impact of LVP-VOCs on air quality and suggest the need for future research on emissions of LVP-VOCs at the point of use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-106
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume108
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Keywords

  • Consumer products
  • Environmental modeling
  • Low vapor pressure-volatile organic compounds
  • Ozone
  • Wastewater treatment plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)

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