Comparison of analytical techniques for the determination of aldehydes in test chambers
The level of carbonyl compounds in indoor air is crucial due to possible health effects and the high prevalence of their potential sources. Therefore, selecting a convenient and rapid analytical technique for the reliable detection of carbonyl compound concentrations is important. The acetyl acetone (acac) method is a widely used standard procedure for detecting gaseous formaldehyde. For measuring formaldehyde along with other carbonyl compounds, the DNPH-method is commonly applied. The recommended procedure for measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is sampling on Tenax TA, followed by thermal desorption and GC/MS analysis. In this study, different analytical techniques for the quantification of formaldehyde, pentanal, and hexanal are critically compared. It was found that the acac- and DNPH-method are in very good agreement for formaldehyde. In contrast, the DNPH-method significantly underestimates indoor air concentrations of the higher aldehydes in comparison to sampling on Tenax TA, although both methods are strongly correlated. The reported results are part of the EURIMA-WKI study on levels of indoor air pollutants resulting from construction, building materials and interior decoration.