Indoor Air Quality
The study of indoor air quality is a relatively new phenomenon. It has come to light as more is known about how outdoor air pollution affects the human condition. Indoor air actually can have a significant affect as most people spend more time indoors than outdoors. It is a complex study because of the numerous variables that enter into the equation. The World Health Organization estimated that more t han 30 percent of commercial buildings have significant problems. Unfortunately there is not a tremendous amount of data available for indoor air issues. One of the best sources is the EPA.
Adverse conditions can cause not only health issues but it can impact productivity and building maintenance costs. Because everyone’s immune system is different the indoor air quality can affect everyone in a unique way. It is difficult to assign standards or even guidelines to set acceptable versus unacceptable levels of pollutants in the house or workplace.
Odor Investigations: Nuisance odors are a complex subjective issue. A person’s perception of odor is related to the human olfactory system. To confuse the issue, there is a distinct lack of odor regulations, and those are very vague. The EPA defaults to the state level for nuisance odors, and most states defer to the country or local level.
Testing can consist of several different methods. Unfortunately there is not one definitive test that handles everything.
- Fungi, mold and mildew testing (See Mold Section for more details)
- VOC’s (volatile organic compounds): This testing is for odors produced by chemicals that are emitted from generally building materials but can be from other sources as well. Testing equipment like TO-15, TO17 etc. can be used to identify the chemical that is producing these odors. Experience then will identify what could be causing that overage in chemical which is producing the problem.
- Gas Testing: This testing is for gasses like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide hydrogen sulfide etc.
- Formaldehyde testing
- Chinese Drywall testing
- Material testing: We can send in materials to a lab to put them in a special chamber to test.