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Alpha Analytical Team Publishes Paper on Indoor Air Background Study

Steve Knollmeyer by Steve Knollmeyer

Air Lab Manager Andy Rezendes developed, implemented and collaborated on a  major indoor air background study from 2013 through 2015. The results of this study were recently published in Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation, “Indoor Air Background Levels of Volatile Organic Compounds and Air-Phase Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Office Buildings and Schools. 2021” 

The laboratory partnered with Richard Rago, Senior Associate at Haley & Aldrich, on the paper and included collaboration with Haley & Aldrich Jay Peters, Kelly Chatterton, and Arun Kammari, and technical review and support from Gina Plantz.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection provided input on the anonymous study’s design, which included the collection of 25 school building samples and 61 office building samples. The study generated 14,668 new indoor air background data points, with samples collected from buildings located in 26 cities in 18 states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Washington). 

The study identified some volatile organic compounds (VOCs) ubiquitously in indoor air background, and some at concentrations which exceeded risk-based regulatory screening levels. These study results provide useful and updated information on indoor air background and air quality in offices and schools.  The results can be used in future regulatory guidance considerations, for further examination of relationships between these data and residential indoor air background, in human health risk assessments and risk communications, and in planning future studies.


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