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Smartphone App for Residential Testing of Formaldehyde (SmART-Form): a community science effort to measure formaldehyde in the home environment.

In collaboration between researchers at Ohio State University, the Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory at Syracuse University, and Public Lab, and utilizing emerging technology from Morphix Technologies, we are seeking to design a low-cost, accessible system for measuring formaldehyde concentrations in residential environments.

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas that can have significant health impacts. Formaldehyde is a common component in adhesives and resins used frequently in building materials, and is found in many household products including cosmetics and detergents. Exposure to formaldehyde can result in respiratory irritation, headaches, and nausea, and chronic exposure can be carcinogenic. For a quick summary of formaldehyde exposure basics, please see the ASTDR’s ToxFAQs for Formaldehyde. For much more in-depth information, please see the ASTDR’s Toxicological Profile for Formaldehyde.

Residential indoor and outdoor ambient air formaldehyde are not regulated in the United States. With known severe health impacts, it is important that people be able to monitor and mitigate their own exposure to formaldehyde, especially as we cannot rely on a regulatory body to do so. In this project, we are developing a free smartphone application that will read a low-cost colorimetric formaldehyde sensor (developed by Morphix Technologies) to quantify the concentration of formaldehyde in the air. Our goal is to create an accessible way for individuals to assess their exposure to formaldehyde. Other ongoing projects seek to develop accessible formaldehyde remediation potential.

This project is made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation. More information about the grant and scoping of this project can be found in this research note by Open Air Fellow Nick Shapiro. The first project report can be found in this research note. More information about the app can be found on Ohio State University’s SmART-Form page.

To see the latest progress on this project, please search the tag “smart-form”.

There is also an active GitHub repository for this project.



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