Exposure assessment: Methods of analysis for environmental carcinogens
Human populations are exposed to environmental carcinogens in both indoor and outdoor atmospheres. Recent studies indicate that pollutant concentrations are generally higher in indoor atmospheres than in outdoor. Environmental pollutants that occur in indoor air from a variety of sources include radon, asbestos, organic and inorganic compounds, and certain particles (e.g., tobacco smoke). Some of the gases or vapors are adsorbed on suspended particulate matter, whereas others exist entirely in the gas phase or are distributed between the latter and a particle-bound state. Because of differences in chemical and physical properties, each class of carcinogens generally requires different sampling and analytical methods. In addition, a single indoor environment may contain a wide variety of air pollutants from different sources. Unfortunately, no single best approach currently exists for the quantitative determination of such complex mixtures and, for practical reasons, only the more toxic or the more abundant pollutants are usually measured. This paper summarizes the currently available monitoring methods for selected environmental pollutants found in indoor atmospheres. In addition, some possible sources for those pollutants are identified.