Characterization of indoor air quality and resident health in an Arizona senior housing apartment building

Sarah E. Frey, Hugo Destaillats, Sebastian Cohn, Sherry Ahrentzen, Matthew Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A survey of key indoor air quality (IAQ) parameters and resident health was carried out in 72 apartments within a single low-income senior housing building in Phoenix, Arizona. Air sampling was carried out simultaneously with a questionnaire on personal habits and general health of residents. Mean PM10 concentrations are 66±16, 58±13, and 24±3 μg/m3and mean PM2.5 concentrations are 62±16, 53±13, and 20±2 μg/m3 for the living room, kitchen, and outdoor balcony, respectively. Median PM10 concentrations are 17, 18 and 17 μg/m3 and median PM2.5 concentrations are 13, 14, and 13 μg/m3, respectively. The initial results indicate that increased indoor particle concentrations coincide with residents who report smoking cigarettes. Indoor formaldehyde concentrations revealed median levels of 36.9, 38.8, and 4.3 ppb in the living room, kitchen, and balcony, respectively. Results show that 36% of living room samples and 44% of kitchen samples exceeded the Health Canada REL for chronic exposure to formaldehyde (40 ppb). Associations between occupants’ behavior, self-reported health conditions, and IAQ are evaluated. Implications: This study provides a characterization of indoor air quality (IAQ) of subsidized apartments for seniors in Phoenix, Arizona. It is important for policy makers to understand the environments in which low-income seniors live, as they are vulnerable to the health impacts from poor IAQ. Formaldehyde concentrations were found to exceed the Health Canada 8-hr reference exposure level (REL) for up to 44% of indoor samples. Particulate matter exposure was governed by resident behavior (i.e., smoking). Associations between occupants’ behavior, IAQ, and self-reported health conditions are evaluated. This work can provide a foundation for subsequent remediation of IAQ conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1251-1259
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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