Superfund Research Program
Indoor Air Concentration Dynamics and Vapor Intrusion
Project Leader: Eric M. Suuberg
Grant Number: P42ES013660
Funding Period: 2009-2021
People spend a majority of their lives indoors, and this environment offers potential for human exposure to harmful chemicals, including those entering via vapor intrusion (VI) from the soil. Their concentrations may vary widely over time, and this project is examining the dynamics of such contaminant exposure, developing mathematical modeling tools to describe and predict it. A major problem in managing VI risk is the highly variable nature of indoor contaminant concentrations, which empirical field investigative methods can easily miss. This project will provide those tasked with managing VI sites new computational tools for better understanding the variability in concentrations that may be expected and will allow them to make more realistic predictions of exposures than are possible now. Project researchers have earlier developed advanced engineering modeling tools to predict what indoor concentrations might be expected in certain steady exposure scenarios. The researchers now are modifying these earlier models to explain the now recognized variability. The models will be validated against actual field data, which the researchers will take at local VI-impacted sites. The project researchers have begun the necessary activities both in terms of revising the earlier VI model and in developing simple, unobtrusive field-deployable measurement devices that can provide them the necessary indoor dynamic concentration information. The chemical of special focus in this project is trichloroethylene (TCE) since recent environmental health literature has suggested certain short-term exposures to low concentrations of TCE might be of considerable significance.