Acrolein in your home

Acrolein is a colourless or yellow liquid that very quickly changes to a vapour when heated. It has an unpleasant smell at high concentrations.

Learn about sources of acrolein, its health effects and how to lower your exposure in your home.

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Sources of acrolein in indoor air

Acrolein is a pollutant found in indoor and outdoor air. Levels of acrolein are generally higher indoors than outdoors.

Indoors, acrolein comes from:

Outdoors, acrolein comes mainly from:

Health effects of acrolein

Breathing air that contains high levels of acrolein may cause irritation to your nose, throat and respiratory tract. Acrolein in the air may also irritate your eyes.

How to lower your exposure to acrolein in your home

You can lower levels of acrolein indoors by increasing ventilation and controlling the sources of acrolein.

You can increase ventilation by:

You can control indoor sources of acrolein by:

We don’t recommend testing indoor air for acrolein because:

Exposure limits for acrolein in indoor air in Canada

We developed short-term and long-term exposure limits for acrolein in indoor air based on:

The short-term (one hour) exposure limit for acrolein is 38 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3). The long-term exposure limit (based on 24-hour average) is 0.44 µg/m3.

These exposure limits protect the health of Canadians including those most susceptible to the effects of acrolein such as:

The recommended exposure limits allow public health officials and other professionals to assess the risk from indoor air pollutants.

Acrolein exposure limits in other countries

Other countries and organizations have established short-term exposure limits for acrolein that are different than Canada’s short-term exposure limit (38 µg/m3). There are various reasons for this difference, including using an older study.

Examples of short-term exposure limits include:

Canada’s long-term exposure limit (0.44 µg/m3) is comparable to limits established by other countries and organizations.

Examples of long-term exposure limits include:

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