Air Quality Assessment


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What is in the air that you Breath?

The Indoor Air quality of your home is of great importance and it is vital to your family’s health. Particulate Matter, Volatile Organic Compounds and Formaldehyde will affect the Air Quality in your home and subsequently the health of the family. We have the knowledge, the expertise and the equipment to help you with the Indoor Air Quality assessment.  Our trained professionals will help you with the RIGHT solution and create an action plan for you. 

Particulate Matter (PM), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and Formaldehyde (HCHO)

What is Particulate Matter?

PM stands for particulate matter (also called particle pollution): the term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope.

Particle pollution includes:

PM10 : inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 10 micrometers and smaller; and

PM2.5 : fine inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 2.5 micrometers and smaller.

 

dust, pollen, mold and combustion particle sizes compated to human hair

Particulate matter contains microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can be inhaled and cause serious health problems. Some particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter can get deep into your lungs and some may even get into your bloodstream. Of these, particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, also known as fine particles or PM2.5, pose the greatest risk to health.

The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest problems, because they can get deep into your lungs, and some may even get into your bloodstream.

Exposure to such particles can affect both your lungs and your heart. Numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including:

  • premature death in people with heart or lung disease
  • nonfatal heart attacks
  • irregular heartbeat
  • aggravated asthma 
  • decreased lung function
  • increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing.

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used in building materials and to produce many household products. Formaldehyde is used in many different products:

  1. Pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard
  2. Glues and adhesives
  3. Permanent-press fabrics
  4. Paper product coatings
  5. Certain insulation materials. 

When formaldehyde is present in the air at levels exceeding 0.1 ppm, some individuals may experience adverse effects such as:

  1. Watery eyes
  2. Burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat
  3. Coughing, wheezing and nausea
  4. Skin irritation. 

Some people are very sensitive to formaldehyde, whereas others have no reaction to the same level of exposure.

Origion of Formaldehyde and Volatile Organic Compounds in your home diagram

Volatile Organic Compounds in Your Home

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a large group of chemicals that are found in many products we use to build and maintain our homes. Once these chemicals are in our homes, they are released or “off-gas” into the indoor air we breathe. They may or may not be able to be smelled, and smelling is not a good indicator of health risk.

VOC’s can be found in different material:

  • Paint, varnishes, caulks, adhesives
  • Carpet, vinyl flooring
  • Composite wood products
  • Upholstery and foam
  • Air fresheners, cleaning products
  • Cosmetics
  • Fuel oil, gasoline
  • VOC’s are also produced during certain activities such as smoking, dry cleaning, cooking, burning wood etc.

 

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list of sources of VOC's

Health effects of VOC exposure

The risk of health effects from inhaling any chemical depends on how much is in the air, how long and how often a person breathes it in.

Breathing in low levels of VOCs for long periods of time may increase some people’s risk of health problems. Several studies suggest that exposure to VOCs may make symptoms worse for people with asthma or who are particularly sensitive to chemicals. These are much different exposures than occupational exposures.

It is important to remember that VOCs refer to a group of chemicals. Each chemical has its own toxicity and potential for causing different health effects.

Common symptoms of short-term exposure to HIGH levels of VOC’s include:

  • Eye, Nose and throat irritation
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Worsening of asthma symptoms

In the long term and chronic exposures to VOC’s the effects may include Cancer, Liver and Kidney damage and Central Nervous system damage.