Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Krystal G. Pollitt

Second Advisor

Drew R. Gentner


Organic air pollutants are widely used in building materials, personal care and household products. Studies have been linking the exposure to these organic air pollutants with adverse health outcomes, including respiratory, cardiovascular, neurobehavioral outcomes, and cancer. Techniques to measure personal exposure to organic air pollutants include backpacks containing filters/pumps, and a set of single pollutant monitors. These techniques usually involve solvent extraction of filters. They are expensive, time-consuming, and inefficient which are not suitable for large scale, longitudinal exposome studies. The FreshAir samplers were developed to capture a wide range of compounds simultaneously throughout the exposure, its high degree of feasibility and low-cost feature coupled with high-throughput sample analysis technique using gas chromatography high resolution mass spectrometry (GC HR-MS) allow large scale deployments in longitudinal epidemiological studies. Here we assessed the personal exposures using FreshAir samplers positioned at different locations on an individual. The exposure measurements were compared in different wearable forms. Variations by season and housing conditions were found in the personal exposures. Participants wore four forms of FreshAir samplers for 24 hours. Questionnaires on housing conditions and personal activities were collected at the end of samplings. There were 56 organic air pollutants found in all different wearable forms. The near head and foot measurements are significantly different from the near chest or wrist measurements. Near wrist measurements were not significantly different from the near wrist measurements. Among measurements from all wearable forms, five phthalates were found to have the highest concentrations. Comparing phthalate concentrations in different wearable forms, near head measurements had the highest level of exposure which suggests that personal care product uses are one of the main sources of exposure for phthalates. Variations by seasons and housing conditions were observed in this study. Selected analytes, mainly polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, found to have significantly higher concentrations in summer than in winter, and significantly higher concentrations in off-campus participants than on-campus participants.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/27/2022