Evaluation of selected portable solutions for the assessment of indoor air quality
Smoke-free products have the potential to reduce individual risk and population harm in comparison with smoking cigarettes. In order to assess the impact of smoke-free products on indoor air quality (IAQ), Philip Morris International (PMI) built an environmentally controlled exposure room and combined it with an analytical platform [1-2]. This platform consists of 14 validated and accredited analytical methods covering a total of 28 analytes and considers mainly offline measurements. Additionally, to enable the assessment of air quality in real-life environments, PMI is looking for possibilities to enlarge its analytical capabilities to allow for portable and online analyses of selected IAQ markers.
A project was thus initiated to assess the performances of transportable indoor air analyzing solutions, including:
- 1. Selection of commercial solutions, considering suppliers’ performance claims as well as target level concentrations.
- 2. Definition and application of a fit-for-purpose protocol allowing comparison of online or near real-time solution results with average results obtained from validated and accredited reference methods.
In total, six technical proposals were investigated, aiming at the determination of carbon monoxide (CO), benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylenes, and formaldehyde, among others.
Online or near-real-time quantitative determination of low-content pollutants in indoor air remains a challenge. A portable solution was found for CO analysis. Near-real-time results obtained from portable gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis revealed opportunities to monitor the presence and abundance of volatiles even at low concentration levels (down to ppt) and enabled their identification. The trans-portable proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry demonstrated the ability to monitor a wide range of chemicals, including highly volatile compounds like formaldehyde.