Lead University: Lehigh University
PI: John T. Fox

It is well established that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are detrimental to in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, as VOCs can be embryotoxic. VOC levels at only parts per billion levels can negatively influence IVF outcomes. Beyond investigation of IVF facilities, there is only one published paper investigating VOC levels in French hospitals.  VOC concentrations indoors are often found in levels 3-5 times greater than outdoor background air. Sources of VOCs include cleaners, disinfectants, aersols, solvents, new plastics, dry cleaned materials, and building materials. Exposure to VOCs can induce a variety of health effects, inlcuding nose and throat discomfort, headache, dyspnea, nausea, fatigue, epistaxis, and dizziness, among other effects. It is well documented that the most susceptible populations to air pollution include the elderly, young children, individuals with compromised cardiac systems, individuals with pulmonary disorders, and other vulnerable health conditions. While it has not yet been investigated, VOC concentrations may be a key contributor to patient outcomes for particulalry vulnerable patients. The proposed will investigate air quality in a hospital burn center to start to determine baseline VOC levels in U.S. based healthcare facilities.