AIHce 2019: Q&A with Josh Maskrey

Posted on Behalf of  Joshua R Maskrey
Please read below for more information from Mr. Josh Maskrey on his AIHce presentation.

1. What was the title of your presentation?

Evaluation of General Population Inhalation Exposures to Formaldehyde Present in the Ambient Environment

2. What was the scope of your research?

The objective was to evaluate the 24-hour personal formaldehyde exposures experienced by a cohort of office workers located in urban areas in the United States. We conducted an exposure sampling study to evaluate 24-hour personal formaldehyde exposures to individuals in five geographical locations across the United States in the absence of specific sources of formaldehyde. We also included sampling strategies to understand the relative exposure contributions from various settings, including work, home, and other locations and activities. The results address a data gap in the literature; ambient formaldehyde personal exposure data for the population of workers incidentally exposed to formaldehyde in an office setting is lacking. The findings of this study can be used as background formaldehyde exposure levels for occupational and non-occupational exposure reconstruction and other risk assessments.

3. What did you find?

Mean and median 24-hour personal formaldehyde exposure concentrations ranged between 10 and 18 µg/m3. Urban office workers involved with the study spent approximately 53% of their time at home, 36% of their time at work, and 11% of their time at other locations (transit, other venues, etc.). 24-hour personal formaldehyde exposure concentrations were statistically significantly elevated in Pittsburgh, PA compared to the other four cities studied (Boulder, CO; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Aliso Viejo, CA). A linear regression analysis demonstrated that office and home indoor concentrations were dominant contributors to the variation in the measured 24-hour personal exposures (R2=0.91). 

4. What are the next steps / what other research is needed?

The main limitation of this study was a small sample size per geographical location. Additionally, these exposure data were captured over a single time period (autumn), and seasonal changes may affect personal, indoor, and outdoor formaldehyde concentrations in these cities during other periods of the year. Future research will be targeted towards expanding the available exposure for populations not exposed to specific sources of formaldehyde.