Environ Pollut. 2012 Oct;169:152-9. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2011.09.024. Epub 2011 Oct 11.
This study examines concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) measured inside and outside of 162 residences in southeast Michigan, U.S.A. Nested analyses apportioned four sources of variation: city, residence, season, and measurement uncertainty. Indoor measurements were dominated by seasonal and residence effects, accounting for 50 and 31%, respectively, of the total variance. Contributions from measurement uncertainty (<20%) and city effects (<10%) were small. For outdoor measurements, season, city and measurement variation accounted for 43, 29 and 27% of variance, respectively, while residence location had negligible impact (<2%). These results show that, to obtain representative estimates of indoor concentrations, measurements in multiple seasons are required. In contrast, outdoor VOC concentrations can use multi-seasonal measurements at centralized locations. Error models showed that uncertainties at low concentrations might obscure effects of other factors. Variance component analyses can be used to interpret existing measurements, design effective exposure studies, and determine whether the instrumentation and protocols are satisfactory.