Understanding SVOCs

Ying Xu, Jensen Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


An overview of the sources, sinks, transport mechanisms, and potential health effects of semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOC), is presented, and how HVAC systems may affect occupants exposure to SVOCs, is discussed. SVOCs constitute an important class that includes phthalate esters, brominated flame-retardants, polychlorinated biphenyls, nonionic surfactants and pesticides. Studies show that exposure to some phthalates results in profound and irreversible changes in the development of the reproductive tract in males. It is also found that the amount of SVOCs taken up via dermal absorption or dust ingestion is greater than the amount taken up through inhalation. As SVOCs are expected to sorb on particles and dust, particle filtration in an HVAC system may be used to mitigate indoor SVOC exposures in combination with ventilation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-125
Number of pages5
JournalASHRAE Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering


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