Close proximity of kitchen to laundry space could increase SVOCs exposure

Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, August 2018, Volume 1, #18

It is a common practice for architects to design laundry space close to the kitchen. Scientific evidence suggesting potential health effects of semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) generated from cooking and combustion make such a design practice a concern, especially in countries or culture where heavy cooking takes place in the kitchen. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are examples of SVOCs generated from cooking and combustion. Potential health effects of PAHs include jaundice and increased risk of organ damage and cancer.

Laundered clothes in close proximity will absorb airborne PAHs and other SVOCs generated from the kitchen. Evidence in the literature suggests that wearing cloth that has absorbed airborne SVOCs will cause SVOCs to be transmitted into the blood through the skin. The severity of the health effects resulting from SVOCs in the blood will depend on the toxicity and concentration of the SVOCs, and vulnerability of the affected person.

Designers and policymakers will benefit from research efforts providing data on how close proximity of kitchen to laundry space could contribute to clothing and skin absorption of airborne SVOCs generated from cooking and combustion.

SVOCs Uptake_IAC 18

Do you want to know more about this topic? Read Morrison et al. (2016), Weschler and Nazaroff (2012), and Xu and Zhang (2011) papers.

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