Iyad Kheirbek

Project title: Development of Passive Sampler to Detect Six Aldehydes

Degree: MS | Program: Environmental Health (EH) | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2003


This study was based on the development of a passive sampler to detect six aldehydes in air. It was focused on increasing the sensitivity of the analytical methods and increase collection rates on passive aldehyde samplers. The aim was to develop a passive sampler that can be used to assess personal exposures to aldehydes over a 7-day monitoring period.

Aldehydes are present in our environment from a combination of natural and anthropogenic sources. Emissions from motor vehicles using gasoline or diesel fuels add to the outdoor levels of several types of aldehydes, due to incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons and alcohols. Furthermore, the projected use of methanol and ethanol as alternative fuels and as additives to fuel will increase outdoor aldehyde levels because their combustion results in the release of more aldehydes than conventional fuel combustion (Jo et al., 2002). In a study done in New Mexico, researchers found significantly higher emissions of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde when ethanol and methanol were used in spark-ignition engines (Gaffney et al., 1997). Aldehydes are also of concern because of their role as intermediates in the photochemical formation of smog in the atmostphere. Although the health effects of many aldehydes are still unknown, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein have been listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act of 1990 and are thus subject to regulation. Little information is available on the health effects of other aldehydes at ambient levels due to limited information available on human exposures to aldehydes. The ability to perform these health effect studies is limited due to the lack of an acceptable personal sampler that can monitor exposure to several different aldehydes at once (Liu et al., 2001).

Taken from the beginning of thesis.