Source apportionment and health risk assessment of ambient volatile organic compounds in primary schools in Northern Taiwan

  • D. R. Widiana
  • Y. C. WangEmail author
  • S. J. You
  • Y. F. Wang
Original Paper


This study conducted a source apportionment and health risk estimation of ambient volatile organic compounds in Taoyuan and Zhongli (Taiwan) primary schools. In particular, principal component analysis followed by absolute principal component scores was used in order to identify and quantify the emission sources of volatile organic compounds. Health risk was determined on the basis of age group and gender using the method recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and Monte Carlo simulation was applied to analyze uncertainty and sensitivity. Results revealed that solvent usage in household product industries (56%) had the highest contribution of volatile organic compounds in Taoyuan and was followed by solvent usage in electronics manufacturing (27%) and oil refineries and storage leaks (17%). The main volatile organic compounds sources in Zhongli were vehicle emissions (48%) and liquefied petroleum gas/natural gas leakage (52%). Vehicle emissions and solvent usage in electronics manufacturing and household product industries were revealed as the primary sources of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes, which were considered the compounds with high health risk for residents. The mean cumulative value of cancer risk ranged from 5.45 × 10−7 to 3.05 × 10−4, and the non-carcinogenic risk index for all age groups and genders was less than 1. The mean cumulative cancer risk was categorized as follows: below the limit recommended by United States Environmental Protection Agency, possible risk, probable risk, and definite risk. The magnitude of risks varied among age groups and between genders, and the variations in risk were statistically insignificant.


Ambient volatile organic compound Cancer risk Source apportionment Primary school 



This study was supported by National Science Council and Ministry of Science and Technology (NSC 99-2221-E-033-052, NSC 102-2621-M-033-001, MOST 103-2621-M-033-001, and MOST 103-2633-M-033-002) of Taiwan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest

Supplementary material

13762_2018_2157_MOESM1_ESM.docx (2.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 2926 kb)


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringChung Yuan Christian UniversityZhongliTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Environmental EngineeringChung Yuan Christian UniversityZhongliTaiwan
  3. 3.Shipbuilding Institute of Polytechnic Surabaya (Politeknik Perkapalan Negeri Surabaya)SurabayaIndonesia

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