Characteristics of carbonyls: Concentrations and source strengths for indoor and outdoor residential microenvironments in China

B. Wang, Shuncheng Lee, K. F. Ho

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


Indoor and outdoor carbonyl concentrations were measured simultaneously in 12 urban dwellings in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Xi'an, China in summer (from July to September in 2004) and winter (from December 2004 to February 2005). Formaldehyde was the most abundant indoor carbonyls species, while formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acetone were found to be the most abundant outdoor carbonyls species. The average formaldehyde concentrations in summer indoor air varied widely between cities, ranging from a low of 19.3 μg m-3in Xi'an to a high of 92.8 μg m-3in Beijing. The results showed that the dwellings with tobacco smoke, incense burning or poor ventilation had significantly higher indoor concentrations of certain carbonyls. It was noticed that although one half of the dwellings in this study installed with low emission building materials or furniture, the carbonyls levels were still significantly high. It was also noted that in winter both the indoor and outdoor acetone concentrations in two dwellings in Guangzhou were significantly high, which were mainly caused by the usage of acetone as industrial solvent in many paint manufacturing and other industries located around Guangzhou and relatively longer lifetime of acetone for removal by photolysis and OH reaction than other carbonyls species. The indoor carbonyls levels in Chinese dwellings were higher than that in dwellings in the other countries. The levels of indoor and ambient carbonyls showed great seasonal differences. Six carbonyls species were carried out the estimation of indoor source strengths. Formaldehyde had the largest indoor source strength, with an average of 5.25 mg h-1in summer and 1.98 mg h-1in winter, respectively. However, propionaldehyde, crotonaldehyde and benzaldehyde had the weakest indoor sources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2851-2861
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007


  • Carbonyls
  • China
  • Formaldehyde
  • Indoor air quality
  • Residential environment
  • Source strength

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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