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Sensory Pollution from Treated Wood Panels on Perceived Air Quality and Human Comfort, SB – 13

Published in Fraunhofer Information Center for Space and Building IRB

The aim of the present study is to compare the effects of commonly used wood products in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) indoor environment on human perceived air quality (PAQ) and comfort. A total of 20 untrained human subjects between 21 and 32 years of age, recruited from the university community, evaluated the air upstream of four different wood panels placed in a ‘small’ chamber of 0.216m3 . “21cm x 30cm” size wood panels evaluated in a blinded sensory assessment study include, “normal” (with no treatment), urea formaldehyde resins (UF), oil, water based wood panels. The loading factor of wood panels was 1.4m²/m³. The tested chamber was also evaluated when it contained no wood sample. All the wood panels/ “empty” chamber conditions were conducted when fan was switched “on” (achieving airflow rate of ~0.3m3 /h) and when fan was “switched off”. Hence, 10 conditions were studied. The studied conditions were assessed in a randomized order. Subjects assessed the acceptability of air coming of the test chamber outlet using the continuous acceptability scale. Odour intensity and nose irritation effects of PAQ from the test chamber were also assessed using long continuous intensity scale. The air upstream of oil based wood panel was judged to significantly (P<0.05) caused negative impact on odour intensity, sensory irritation, and acceptability of perceived air than other studied conditions, with or without fan switched “on”. Unpredictably, the UF sample assessments were equal to water based-wood sample (P>0.05). This may be due to subjects’ familiarity with UF smell, as UF wood based products are the most commonly used wood treatment in the UAE construction industry. Interestingly, there was no significant (P>0.05) between “normal” wood sample and “empty” chamber. Use of fan improved PAQ and subjects’ comfort. However, there was generally no significant difference (P>0.05) between “fan on” and “fan off” scenarios. It was observed that female subjects complained more about PAQ and comfort, though no significant difference (P>0.05) was observed. Understanding from this study is relevant to creating healthy indoor environment for building occupants.

About the journal
PublisherFraunhofer Information Center for Space and Building IRB
Open AccessYes