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Your Environment. Your Health.

A DIRECT-READING LIQUID CRYSTAL BASED FORMALDEHYDE DOSIMETER FOR PERSONAL EXPOSURE MONITORING

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Principal Investigator: Bedolla Pantoja, Marco A
Institute Receiving Award Platypus Technologies, Llc
Location Madison, WI
Grant Number R44ES026474
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 01 Feb 2016 to 31 May 2021
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Platypus Technologies aims to advance the liquid crystal (LC) based molecular analytic detection of formaldehyde that it established with SBIR Phase I support to complete the development and integrate its innovative LC-based technology into product forms for rapid identification of formaldehyde emissions for short term and time-weighted exposure (TWA). Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and workplace exposure limits to this compound are enforced by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Despite its toxicity upon both short-term and long-term exposure, formaldehyde is widely used for manufacturing materials used in residential construction, vehicles, and medical laboratories [7]. Just recently in 2016, the EPA published new rules to further limit formaldehyde from wood products [21]. Industries affected by the OSHA and EPA limits (new construction buildings, automotive, aerospace, medical laboratories and wood products manufacturing) total to a $212M market opportunity for formaldehyde detection. Current devices for detection and monitoring of formaldehyde, which include electrochemical devices, colorimetric detectors, diffusion badges and sorbent tubes have significant disadvantages. Electrochemical devices are expensive and require calibration. Colorimetric detectors produce difficult-to-interpret results. While diffusion badges do not require a pump like sorbent tubes, both depend on laboratory analysis that can take 7-14 days. The LC-based sensors that Platypus technologies invented in Phase I exhibit a striking and readily quantified optical transition (from dark to bright) when exposed to formaldehyde. In Phase II, we will complete the development of this innovative technology and integrate these new LC materials into two devices that provide unique advantages for formaldehyde detection, which include direct and easy-to-read, real-time exposure results with high accuracy at a low cost. The first device to be developed in Phase II is a sensor for rapid identification of formaldehyde emission at OSHA’s short-term exposure limit: 2 ppm in less than 15 minutes. The second device to be fabricated is a wearable dosimeter badge to monitor TWA exposure up to 750 ppb formaldehyde for 8 hrs. Additionally, we will fabricate an electronic reader with wireless connectivity to read the LC-based devices and generate exposure assessment reports that facilitate OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements. Following completion of Phase II efforts, Platypus Technologies will seek to integrate these devices into a multiplex platform that leverages other LC-based chemistries for identification of multiple toxic gases and position the devices for commercialization.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 74 - Biosensors/Biomarkers
Publications No publications associated with this grant
Program Officer Daniel Shaughnessy
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