Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2011

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Occupational and Environmental Health

First Advisor

Anthony, T Renee

First Committee Member

O'Shaughnessy, Patrick T

Second Committee Member

Peters, Thomas M


The repair of automobiles is a critical aspect in vehicle ownership and is potential source of volatile toxic compounds being brought into a home when repairs are conducted in an attached garage. The goal of this study was to assess the impact of the repair of automobiles in an attached garage on the exposure of the home mechanic and degradation of indoor air. Five common automotive tasks were performed in two garages with the garage door either opened 30.5 centimeters (n=5) or closed (n=4). The exposure to the home mechanic, the behavior of contaminants within the garage, and infiltration of contaminants in the home were the determinants of interest. Integrative sampling incorporating charcoal sorbent sampling tubes analyzed by gas chromatography and directs reading photo ionization detectors were used to assess exposure. The tasks with the greatest contributions to the home mechanic’s exposure were found to be brake pad replacement and oil change; these generated 95th percentile concentrations of 51.2 ppm and 12.8 ppm, respectively, with the garage door closed. In contrast, the tasks of refueling and shock replacement had 95th percentile contributions of 0.85 ppm and 2.99 ppm, respectively, in the closed garage. Equations were fitted to the aggregated concentrations during decay to estimate general ventilation (Q/V) in a closed garage. The contaminants within the garage were not found to infiltrate into the home as the average concentrations within the home never exceeded 1 ppm. It was found that automotive repair work in a closed garage may constitute up to 18% of threshold limit value of toluene over a 105 minute exposure at home. Automotive repair inside an attached garage has the potential to make a significant contribution to a mechanic’s daily exposure and should be incorporated into occupational exposure assessments of volatile organic compounds.


Automotive Repair, Exposure Assessment, Organic Solvents


xiii, 73 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 71-73).


Copyright 2011 Jacob Alexzander Krzystowczyk