Assessment of Indoor Air Quality in the United Arab Emirates
William Funk, David Nash, Chris Trent, Karin Yeatts, Chris Davidson, Maryanne Boundy, David Leith
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Abstract Number: 313
Preference: Platform Presentation
Last modified: November 9, 2009
Working Group: sq3
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In fewer than forty years the UAE has been transformed from a country of Bedouin nomads and fishermen to a modern, multicultural nation. The rapid growth and development have significantly impacted the UAE environment and have raised concerns about the impact of air pollutants on human health. To assess these concerns, the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina has contracted with the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi to create a National Strategy for Environmental Health.
As part of this effort, an epidemiological survey is being conducted in 600 households throughout the UAE to monitor indoor air quality and the health status of residents to determine an association between the indoor environment and adverse health effects. Indoor air pollutants can come from the infiltration of outdoor air or from sources within the household itself. One-week averaged concentrations of coarse, fine and ultrafine particles,CO, NO2, formaldehyde, H2S, SO2, and BTEX are being measured using passive monitoring devices. Within a subset of these homes, active monitoring of particulate matter and non-methane hydrocarbons will be conducted to characterize temporal variability in pollutant concentrations. The outdoor environment will also be sampled for the above pollutants in another subset of the homes. Gaseous toxicants are being monitored using colorimetric diffusion tubes. Because the diffusion tubes were designed for industrial applications, rigorous laboratory testing, quality assurance, and quality control were implemented to verify the capability of the diffusion tubes to monitor the indoor pollutants of interest under environmental conditions (i.e. low air concentrations and longer sampling times). Airborne particulate matter (PM) is being assessed using the UNC Passive Aerosol Sampler. Imaging of ambient particles will be performed using scanning electron microscopy to determine PM concentrations of various size fractions; chemical speciation of the PM will be determined in a subset of 50 samples. To determine temporal variations of PM and volatile organic compounds, week-long concentrations will be monitored in a subset of the homes using DustTrak II and ppbRae 3000 monitors, respectively.
Indoor air sampling is currently being conducted by 13 field teams in collaboration with the UAE University in Al Ain. Data collection began in October 2009 and will be completed by March 2010. Preliminary results suggest that the concentration of indoor air pollutants may be significant in some cases.