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Measurement of SVOC emission parameters for building materials using solid-phase microextraction (SPME)-based method



Mengyan Gong, Dustin G. Poppendieck


Semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) are ubiquitous indoors and associated with adverse health effects. y0 (the SVOC concentration in air close to the material surface) is the key parameter to predict SVOC emissions from source materials. However, to develop consensus standard methods for measuring y0, better understanding and validation of current approaches are needed. A solid-phase microextraction (SPME)-based method published in the literature was chosen for this study. Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP) from spray polyurethane foam (SPF) and Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) flooring were chosen as target chemicals. First, TCPP concentrations in two SPF materials were measured. The values for open cell and closed cell SPF were 1.24 x 106 mg m-3 and 2.84 x 105 mg m-3, respectively. Second, to apply the SPME-based method, an improved method to calibrate chemical mass collected on SPME fibers was evaluated. The results show that, for DEHP and Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), the direct SPME loading method was able to calibrate masses collected on SPME fibers, but not for more volatile chemicals (TCPP and 2,2′,5,5′-Tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB 52)). Unfortunately, the application of the improved direct loading method may be limited due to the need for evaluation of every target chemical, the physical challenge of spiking onto the fiber, and the variability of SPME fiber’s adsorption ability. Third, y0 for DEHP from PVC flooring at different temperatures were measured using the SPME-based method and a specially designed stainless-steel chamber. However, due to the potential problems relating to the variability of SPME fiber’s adsorption property, the variability of measured y0 values may be as large as a factor of two. Overall, given the essential drawbacks of SPME-based method for measuring y0, it is not yet suggested until the problems relating to SPME calibration and the variability of SPME fiber adsorption property are overcome.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 2040
Report Number


Semivolatile organic compound (SVOC), Spray polyurethane foam (SPF), Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) flooring, Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCPP), Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), Solid- phase microextraction (SPME)


Gong, M. and Poppendieck, D. (2019), Measurement of SVOC emission parameters for building materials using solid-phase microextraction (SPME)-based method, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created April 1, 2019