Watching Paint Dry: I/VOC Emissions from Architectural Coatings and their Impact on SOA Formation

13 August 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Emissions from volatile chemical products (VCPs) are emerging as a major source of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosol (SOA) precursors. Paints and coatings are an important class of VCPs that emit both volatile and intermediate volatility organic compounds (VOCs and IVOCs). In this study, we directly measured I/VOC emissions from representative water-based (latex) and oil paints used in the U.S. Paint I/VOC emissions vary over several orders of magnitude by both solvent and gloss level. Oil paint had the highest emissions (>10^5 microgram/g-paint) whereas low-gloss interior paints (Flat, Satin, and Semigloss) all emitted ~10^2 microgram/g-paint. Emissions from interior paints are dominated by VOCs, whereas exterior-use paints emitted a larger fraction of IVOCs. Extended emissions tests showed that most I/VOC emissions occur within 12-24 hours after paint application, though some IVOC-dominated paints continue to emit for 48 hours or more. We used the emissions measurements to estimate paint I/VOC emissions and subsequent SOA production in the U.S. Total annual paint I/VOC emissions are 168 +/- 15 Mg. This amounts to 291 g/kg of paint used and 0.51 kg/person, which are significantly larger than comparable emissions factors from combustion systems. These emissions contribute to the formation of 8 Mg of SOA annually. Oil paints contribute ~90% of the I/VOC emissions and SOA formation, even though it only accounts for ~20% of paint usage.



Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Additional description of experimental procedures and two figures showing experimental setups; a table outlining specific experiments and sampling times; tables with lists of ion identification in the PTR-MS and marker ions used in the GC-MS; SOA yields used in the calculation of SOA formation potential; figures showing headspace samples for all paint types and the difference in VOCs measured in headspace and extended emissions experiments.


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