In temperate climate, people spend on average 85% of their time in closed environments and a majority of that time in housing. Different sources (furniture, floors, walls, ceilings) may be responsible for the presence of pollutants in these closed environments. To address the health challenge raised by the quality of indoor air and provide useful elements for the management of this risk to public authorities, the French agency for food, environmental and occupational health and safety (Anses) works since 2004 in the development of indoor air guideline values (IAGVs), based exclusively on health criteria. Since the beginning of this work, Anses identified eleven indoor air pollutants of interest including formaldehyde known for its irritant effects. Since 2004, formaldehyde is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as “proven carcinogen to humans” (Group 1) and since 2007 is subject to IAGVs (short term IAGVs 50 μg·m−3 for an exposure of two hours and long term IAGVs 10 ug·m−3 for an exposure of more than one year). Many measurement campaigns are regularly carried out, particularly in housing, public buildings including schools and childcare facilities, but also in unusual places such as swimming pools, gymnasiums, etc. The objective of this study was to develop Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) which are in the form of cartridges impregnated with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH) containing a known amount of formaldehyde over a mass range of 1 μg to 10 μg corresponding to masses commonly measured in the field of indoor air, and to ensure the traceability of formaldehyde measurements performed by the analytical laboratories. To achieve this, LNE has developed a bench allowing the generation of formaldehyde gas mixtures based on the use of permeation tubes of alpha-polyoxymethylene and a method of loading DNPH cartridges. The characterization of this method leads to final uncertainties measurements on formaldehyde masses ranging from 3.3% to 8% and a stability of 20 days for a mass range from 1 μg to 10 μg; it also highlights significant influence of some parameters such as the stability over the time on formaldehyde masses loaded on the cartridges.

Key words

dnph cartridge
certified reference material