Portable Sick House Syndrome Gas Monitoring System Based on Novel Colorimetric Reagents for the Highly Selective and Sensitive Detection of Formaldehyde

Yoshio Suzuki, Nobuo Nakano, Koji Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Formaldehyde (HCHO) emitted from the furniture and the walls in the rooms injures the eyes, nose, and respiratory organs and causes allergies, which is called sick house syndrome. We designed and synthesized novel colorimetric HCHO-sensing molecules (KD-XA01 and KD-XA02) which possess an enaminone structure and developed a hand-held instrument to monitor indoor HCHO gas with the use of KD-XA01. These sensing molecules produced speedy color changes from colorless to yellow under mild conditions, which was caused by the fact that the enaminone structure in the reagent reacts with HCHO to give a lutidine derivative. This reaction took place not only in the solution phase but also in the solid phase (surface of the cellulose paper). To take advantage of this phenomena, a handy and rapid monitoring system has been developed for detecting indoor HCHO gas using a highly sensitive and selective detection tablet constructed from the porous cellulose paper that contains silica gel as an adsorbent, KD-XA01, and phosphoric acid under optimum conditions. This instrument detected the surface color change of the tablet from white to yellow, which was monitored as a function of the intensity of the reflected light illuminated by an LED (475 nm). The response was proportional to the HCHO concentration at a constant sampling time and flow rate; 0.05 ppm HCHO, which is under the standard value set by the World Health Organization, was able to be detected in 5 min. The detection limit was 0.005 ppm. This monitoring system was not interfered by carbonyl compounds such as acetaldehyde and acetone, alcohols, hydrocarbons, and typical gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, etc., which contributes to the measurement of correct HCHO concentrations. It was possible to monitor the HCHO gas in the room of a new apartment and school using this instrument; the response values were in good agreement with those obtained by the standard DNPH method. This highly sensitive, selective, and handy HCHO gas monitor is widely applicable and convenient for users who are not specialists in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5695-5700
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Dec 15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Portable Sick House Syndrome Gas Monitoring System Based on Novel Colorimetric Reagents for the Highly Selective and Sensitive Detection of Formaldehyde'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this