Chronic residential exposure to formaldehyde constitutes a human health risk. In this paper we examine the relationship between ventilation rates and indoor concentrations of formaldehyde (Cin) in existing homes. We analyzed data from the Relationship of Indoor, Outdoor, and Personal Air (RIOPA) study, where 303 non-smoking residences were monitored. The factors we considered in our analysis include house air exchange rate (AER), volume, indoor temperature, building type and age. In this sample of homes, Cin showed limited dependence on any of the studied factors. It is possible that the effectiveness of AER in reducing Cin is lessened by a positive relationship between formaldehyde emission rates and ventilation rates. Furthermore, this effectiveness appears to decline with time as the equilibrium concentration in emitting materials decreases. Consequently, strategies to lower population chronic exposures to formaldehyde will likely require lowering the formaldehyde content of building materials.
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