The air we breathe may seem and feel clean but a variety of different pollutants may be present, both indoors and out, that can impact our health, safety and comfort. From VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) to mold and bacteria particulates, breathing in the air around us can be compromising our health and putting us at risk. So, how do you protect yourself from something you can’t see? Professional indoor air quality testing offers a solution. This is what you might be fighting:
Temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide (Co2) are a few of several parameters that affect our thermal and indoor comfort. Our comfort level is a state of mind in which we feel satisfaction of our surrounding environment. When one of our comfort levels is “not comfortable”, our interpretation of our surroundings becomes skewed. We might feel stuffy, dry, fatigued or even get a headache. Indoor air quality testing can tell us if our comfort markers are at their optimal or ideal levels and help us know if we need small adjustments to attain large returns to our well-being.
The presence of elevated levels of mold and fungal particulates in our indoor environment are one of the most common contaminants to our indoor air quality. Individuals with mold sensitivities, weakened immune systems, asthma or pre-existing allergies are most at risk for experiencing sometimes serious health related symptoms. If you see signs of visible mold, or have experienced water intrusion, flooding or high humidity levels then you are at risk for mold. You can test and confirm mold with air quality sampling.
VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals used in a variety of different products, from paint to cleaning solutions, and building materials such as carpeting to furniture, that can easily evaporate into the air we breathe and affect our indoor air quality. There are thousands of VOCs produced and used regularly in our daily lives, and when the burden of these compounds gets elevated, building occupants may start to experience dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting and eye/nose/throat irritation, depending on their sensitivity. Indoor air quality testing can help determine the total level of VOCs present in your indoor air, or even the level of each individual compound present, so you can get the information you need to reduce levels and minimize exposure.
For many years, asbestos containing materials were used in a wide variety of building products and materials. While newer homes and offices have been built after strict regulations have been put in place, older buildings may still hold some exposure risks. Although typically not a health risk when not disturbed, asbestos fibers mostly pose a risk to our health when they become airborne where they have the potential to be inhaled. In many cases, we may not know the material we are disrupting or disturbing is asbestos containing, and inadvertently may be putting ourselves at risk. If you suspect you have disturbed asbestos containing material, or find that a potentially asbestos containing material has become damaged or impacted within your environment, indoor air quality testing can give you answers about the level of fibers present in your air.
Carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide, particulates and formaldehydes are potential pollutants released as a byproduct of combustion. In our homes and workplaces heaters, furnaces, tobacco smoke, fireplaces and gas ranges are sources of combustion byproducts that may be impacting your indoor air with hazardous pollutants. Appliances should be regularly inspected by a certified technician to ensure safety and help minimize risk while indoor air quality testing can help provide detailed information about the presence of combustion pollutants in your indoor environment.
Radon is an odourless, colourless gas that can seep into your home, undetected, and pose a serious health threat. Protecting yourself and your family from lung cancer caused by radon exposure is the most important reason for testing. Produced naturally by the breakdown of uranium in the soil or ground, radon can’t be seen or smelled and can enter your home from a variety of sources. From cracks in your foundation to sump pump cavities and floor drains, your home may be letting radon in. Almost every home in Canada has some radon present but levels can vary from one home to the next. Indoor air quality testing offers protection by providing information on exposure levels and risk. If he radon level is above the Canadian guideline of 200 becquerels/meters3 than it must be reduced.
Dust, dust mites, vermin feces and pet dander can be serious pollutants of your indoor air. Breathing difficulties, asthma and allergic reactions are just a few symptoms that can be expected from exposure while children and the elderly may be most at risk. Indoor air quality testing can determine exposure levels and help evaluate potential sources that may be impacting your environment.
For a long time lead has been recognized as a harmful indoor air pollutant. Prior to knowing the harmful exposure risks, lead was used in paint, gasoline, water pipes and many other products. Old lead-based paint is the most significant source of lead exposure today and airborne lead enters the body when we breathe or swallow lead particles or dust once settled. Harmful exposures can be created as a result of improperly removing it from surfaces via scraping, sanding or burning, or even by soldering in an indoor environment. Indoor air quality testing for airborne lead exposure can help you know your level of risk.
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