Desorption of SVOCs from Heated Surfaces in the Form of Ultrafine Particles

Lance A. Wallace, Wayne R. Ott, Charles J. Weschler, Alvin C. K. Lai

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    Ultrafine particles (UFP) produced by electric heating of stoves and metal cooking pans, absent food, have been hypothesized to be created from a surface film of semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) sorbed from the surrounding air. This study tests that hypothesis by size-resolved measurements extending the lower range of the UFP studied from 10 to 2.3 nm, and including other surfaces (glass, aluminum, and porcelain). Heating glass Petri dishes or squares of aluminum foil to about 350-400 degrees C for 4-6 min removed all sorbed organic substances completely. Subsequent exposure of these "clean" Petri dishes and foil squares to indoor air in two different residences for successively longer periods (1 h to 281 days), followed by heating the materials for 4-6 min, indicated a strong relationship of the number, size distribution, and mass of the UFP to the time exposed. Estimates of the accumulation rate of SVOCs on surfaces were similar to those in studies of organic film buildup on indoor windows. Transfer of skin oils by touching the glass or foil surfaces, or after washing the glass surface with detergent and bare hands, was also observed, with measured particle production comparable with that produced by long-term exposure to indoor air.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)1140-1146
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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