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Previous research has shown that indoor benzene levels in homes with attached garages are higher than homes without attached garages. Exhaust ventilation in attached garages is one possible intervention to reduce these concentrations. To evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention, a randomized crossover study was conducted in 33 Ottawa homes in winter 2014. VOCs including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and air exchange rates were measured over four 48‐hour periods when a garage exhaust fan was turned on or off. A blower door test conducted in each garage was used to determine the required exhaust fan flow rate to provide a depressurization of 5 Pa in each garage relative to the home. When corrected for ambient concentrations, the fan decreased geometric mean indoor benzene concentrations from 1.04 to 0.40 μg/m3, or by 62% (P<.05). The garage exhaust fan also significantly reduced outdoor‐corrected geometric mean indoor concentrations of other pollutants, including toluene (53%), ethylbenzene (47%), m,p‐xylene (45%), o‐xylene (43%), and carbon monoxide (23%) (P<.05) while having no impact on the home air exchange rate. This study provides evidence that mechanical exhaust ventilation in attached garages can reduce indoor concentrations of pollutants originating from within attached garages.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.