Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Chemistry (Analytical/Environmental Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Chemistry

Committee Chair

Garon Smith

Commitee Members

Chris Palmer, Tony Ward


Air Pollution, GC/MS, Northern Rockies, Volatile Organic Compounds


University of Montana


Indoor and ambient concentrations of 21 volatile organic compounds (including 14 hazardous air pollutants) were measured in the homes of nearly 80 western Montana (Missoula) high school students as part of the ‘Air Toxics Under the Big Sky’ program during the 2004/2005 and 2005/2006 school years. Target analytes were measured using low flow air sampling pumps and sorbent tubes, with analysis of the exposed samples by thermal desorption/gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (TD/GC/MS). The results reported here present the findings of the first indoor/ambient air toxics monitoring program conducted in a semi-rural valley location located in the Northern Rocky Mountain/Western Montana region. Of all of the air toxics quantified in this study, toluene was found to be the most abundant compound in both the indoor and ambient environments during each of the two school years. Indoor log-transformed mean concentrations were found to be higher when compared with ambient log-transformed mean concentrations at P<0.001 for the majority of the compounds, supporting the results of previous studies conducted in urban areas. For the air toxics consistently measured throughout this program, concentrations were approximately six times higher inside the student’s homes compared to those simultaneously measured directly outside their homes. For the majority of the compounds, there were no significant correlations between indoor and ambient concentrations.



© Copyright 2009 Heidi Lee Underberg