Dataset for 'Measurement and analysis of air quality in temporary shelters on three continents'

This dataset includes air quality data collected from field studies in refugee and displacement camps in ten locations within Peru, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Jordan, Turkey and Bangladesh. These include samples of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Particulate Matter (PM), and CO2.

The data Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) sampled over 25 minutes using Tenax A tubes, Particulate Matter (PM) sampled over 30 minutes using TSI DustTrack monitor, CO2 spot measurements in Jordan and Ethiopia only using Extech CO2 meter (model CO250), and 24hrs CO2 monitoring in two shelters in Djibouti unsing TinyTag (model TGE-0011).

Results revealed very harmful levels of pollutants that are often linked to excess mortality - with total VOC concentrations as high as 102400μg·m^-3 and PM over 3000μg·m^-3.

Medical and health interface
Pollution, waste and resources

Cite this dataset as:
Albadra, D., Kuchai, N., Coley, D., Acevedo De Los Ríos, A., Rondinel-Oviedo, D., Rana, C., Mower, K., Dengel, A., Maskell, D., Ball, R., 2020. Dataset for 'Measurement and analysis of air quality in temporary shelters on three continents'. Bath: University of Bath Research Data Archive. Available from:


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published air … all data .xlsx
application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet (164kB)
Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0

Data for "Measurement and analysis of air quality in temporary shelters on three continents" in Building and Environment


Dima Albadra
University of Bath

David Coley
University of Bath

Alejandra Acevedo De Los Ríos
University of Lima

Daniel Rondinel-Oviedo
University of Lima

Chetas Rana
Building Research Establishment

Keith Mower
Building Research Establishment

Andy Dengel
Building Research Establishment

Dan Maskell
University of Bath

Richard Ball
University of Bath


University of Bath
Rights Holder


Data collection method:

VOCs monitoring The concentration of VOCs in shelters was determined by air sampling using conditioned Tenax TA Perkin Elmer style tubes in accordance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard EN-ISO-16000-6:2011 [32]. supplied by Markes International Ltd. The sampling pump was a Casella Vortex, modified to use D size batteries in order to circumvent any possible issues with recharging in areas where availability of mains electricity could be intermittent. Either active, passive or both VOC sampling was performed. Active sampling involved drawing air through the tube using a sampling pump calibrated at 12 litres/hour for 25 minutes (which will not allow the tube to become totally saturated). N.B. ISO 16000 part 6 does not specify sampling times, but it recommends flowrates between 50 and a maximum of 200 ml/min, and sampling volumes of between 1 and 5 litres of air. While it allows a lower flow rate than 50 ml/min to enable longer sampling times, the practical sampling period would be between 5 and 100 minutes. Passive monitoring involved leaving an opened tube in the environment to be monitored for seven to 14 days. to give an idea of mean VOC concentrations over longer periods of time. In the method used (based upon ISO 16017 part 2) assumptions are made regarding the uptake rate of VOCs (in ml/min) over the period of diffusive sampling when converting the amount of compound on the tube to a time-weighted average concentration in air. Analysis of the adsorbed VOCs on the tubes was conducted by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in accordance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard EN-ISO-16000-6:2011 [32]. In this context, VOCs are defined as chemical compounds with boiling points between 60-280°C trapped on the Tenax-TA tubes. Analysis of the tubes was carried out on a Perkin Elmer AutoSystem XL GC, using a 350 Automatic Tube Desorber (ATD) and a Turbomass MS. Identification of VOCs was carried out using a combination of retention time and mass spectral “fingerprint”; quantification was carried out using a flame ionisation detector FID. TVOC concentration was calculated as the sum of compounds eluting between (and including) n-hexane and n-hexadecane, quantified as toluene. Therefore, the TVOC concentration can differ from the sum of the individual VOCs reported. Particulate Matter (PM) monitoring PM is dust and other particulates which originate from combustion (e.g cooking, smoking), the external environment or materials which can release particles. Inhalable particulates have different sizes up to 10μm in diameter. Inhalable coarse particles with a diameter less than or equal to 4 and 10μm (PM4 and PM10), and fine particles with a diameter of less than or equal to 2.5μm or 1μm (PM2.5 and PM1) were measured by air sampling using a TSI DustTrak DRX Desktop Aerosol Monitor. The PM10 fraction includes the PM4 PM2,5 and PM1 fractions, etc. The device was placed in the middle of the shelter (approx. 0.5 to 0.8m above the floor) and air was sampled for 30 minutes, the total flow rate of the DustTrack is fixed at 3 l/min. Results are reported as the total mass of particles from 0.1μm up to the particle size specified. Carbon dioxide monitoring CO2 is naturally present in the atmosphere at around 400ppm and doesn’t constitute a health risk at low levels up to around 1000ppm. However, exposure to higher concentrations, which may occur in under-ventilated indoor environments can cause various health issues such as headaches and dizziness. At high concentrations above 40,000ppm exposure can lead to oxygen deprivation causing brain damage, or death. In Azraq and Zaatari camps, Jordan, 136 spot measurements of CO2 were taken in summer and winter; and similarly, in Ethiopia spot measurements of CO2 were taken in 286 shelters in Hitsats refugee camp using Extech CO2 meter (model CO250) that can measure levels between 0 and 5000ppm. In Djibouti, CO2 was monitored using TinyTag (model TGE-0011) CO2 data logger. The TGE-0011 can monitor levels between 0 and 5000ppm using a 'self-calibrating' infrared sensor. 24-hours sampling from two different shelters at one-minute intervals was conducted.

Data processing and preparation activities:

All data that might identify individual shelters (such as addresses) have been removed.

Technical details and requirements:

The spreadsheet was compiled using Microsoft Excel.


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Healthy Housing for the Displaced

Publication details

Publication date: 4 September 2020
by: University of Bath

Version: 1


URL for this record:

Related papers and books

Albadra, D.., Kuchai, N.., Acevedo-De-los-Ríos, A.., Rondinel-Oviedo, D.., Coley, D.., da Silva, C..F.., Rana, C.., Mower, K.., Dengel, A.., Maskell, D.., and Ball, R..J.., 2020. Measurement and analysis of air quality in temporary shelters on three continents. Building and Environment, 185, 107259. Available from:

Contact information

Please contact the Research Data Service in the first instance for all matters concerning this item.

Contact person: Dima Albadra


Faculty of Engineering & Design
Architecture & Civil Engineering

Research Centres & Institutes
BRE Centre in Innovative Construction Materials (BRE CICM)
Centre for Energy and the Design of Environments (EDEn)