Vehicle cabin is a relatively confined environment in which driver/passengers are exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may lead to adverse effects on human health. In this study, airborne VOCs inside new vehicle cabins were measured to evaluate the human health risk and to identify the dominant source. The concentrations of BTEXS (sum of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, and styrene) ranged from 19 to 719 μg/m3, with a mean value of 176 μg/m3, while aldehydes (sum of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde) concentrations varied from 43 to 121 μg/m3 and averaged at 69 μg/m3. The in-cabin VOCs levels in present study were all below the Chinese limitations. However, even considering the decline of VOCs over time, the estimated inhalation cancer risk (ICR) values for total VOCs were all higher than 1.0×10−6 and the total HI far exceeded the threshold, manifesting that inhalation exposure to VOCs inside these vehicles may cause potential health risks (both cancer and non-cancer). To identify the dominant source of in-vehicle VOCs, nineteen sets of interior parts (including roof ceiling, dashboard, carpets, seats, and door panels) corresponding to nineteen targeted vehicles, respectively, were measured to get the source profiles. Chemical mass balance (CMB) model was used to assess the contribution of each interior part to the VOCs inside vehicle cabin. CMB results demonstrated that carpet was the most important source for in-cabin VOCs and related cancer risks while seats were the major contributor to in-vehicle non-cancer risks.
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