||Health Effects Research Lab., Research Triangle Park, NC. ;Environmental Health Research and Testing, Inc., Research Triangle Park, NC. ;Battelle, Columbus, OH.
The study was conducted to assess human exposure to air pollutants resulting from the use of kerosene heaters in mobile homes. It has been estimated that 15-17 million unvented kerosene heaters have been sold in the United States, and 33% of these heaters have been sold to mobile home residents. The emissions from kerosene heaters can result in high pollutants levels in mobile homes that have a small air volume and low ventilation rate. Eight totally electric mobile homes with no smokers living in the homes were monitored for indoor air particles < 10 micrometer (PM10), semivolatile organics, carbon monoxide (CO), and mutagenicity of semivolatile and particle-phase organics in Salmonella typhimurium TA98 without S9 using a microsuspension reverse-mutation assay. Each home was monitored for an average of 6.5 h/day, 3 days/week, for 4 weeks (2 weeks with the heater on and 2 weeks with the heater off) during the heating season of 1989. Indoor air exchange rate, temperature, and humidity were measured. Chemical analyses, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and nitro PAH, also were performed on the indoor air samples from a selected home with the kerosene heater on and off. Increases in CO and organic concentrations resulting from the use of kerosene heaters were found in most homes monitored. Chemical analysis data also suggested the presence of evaporated, unburned kerosene fuel present in semivolatile organics collected in the XAD samples. In comparison with the U.S. national ambient air standards, four out of the eight heaters investigated in the study emitted pollutants that xceeded the ambient air standards some days. These data suggested that emissions from unvented kerosene heaters can significantly impact indoor air quality in mobile homes and that these emissions contain carcinogenic compounds and can be potentially carcinogenic in humans.