Human exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and residential indoor and outdoor VOC levels had hitherto not been investigated in Turkey. This study details investigations of indoor, outdoor, and personal exposure to VOCs conducted simultaneously in 15 homes, 10 offices and 3 schools in Kocaeli during the summer of 2006 and the winter of 2006-2007. All VOC concentrations were collected by passive sampling over a 24-h period and analyzed using thermal desorption (TD) and a gas chromatography/flame ionization detector (GC/FID). Fifteen target VOCs were investigated and included benzene, toluene, m/p-xylene, o-xylene, ethylbenzene, styrene, cyclohexane, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, n-heptane, n-hexane, n-decane, n-nonane, n-octane and n-undecane. Toluene levels were the highest in terms of indoor, outdoor, and personal exposure, followed by m/p-xylene, o-xylene, ethylbenzene, styrene, benzene and n-hexane. In general, personal exposure concentrations appeared to be slightly higher than indoor air concentrations. Both personal exposure and indoor concentrations were generally markedly higher than those observed outdoors. Indoor target compound concentrations were generally more strongly correlated with outdoor concentrations in the summer than in winter. Indoor/outdoor ratios of target compounds were generally greater than unity, and ranged from 0.42 to 3.03 and 0.93 to 6.12 in the summer and winter, respectively. Factor analysis, correlation analyses, indoor/outdoor ratios, microenvironment characteristics, responses to questionnaires and time activity information suggested that industry, and smoking represent the main emission sources of the VOCs investigated. Compared with the findings of earlier studies, the level of target analytes in indoor air were higher for several target VOCs, indicating a possible trend toward increased inhalation exposure to these chemicals in residential environments.