What's In Your Air?

Mold & Fungal Spores

Airborne mold spores can cause a variety of health problems ranging from skin irritation, respiratory ailments, asthma triggers, rashes and more. With so many strands of mold present in everyday situations, the risk of exposure can be quite high. Sluggishness, drowsiness, irritation and headaches are often the early signs of mold exposure.
Mold growth is mot commonly found in damp environments such as basements, kitchens, bathrooms and attics. Once large enough, the spores become airborne and begin to circulate throughout a building. Although many molds are harmless, others are toxic which is why is it important to know what you are dealing with.

Dust & Fine Particulate Matter

Invisible to the naked eye, these particulates enter buildings predominantly from filtration systems. When inhaled, these particulates can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. They include any airborne matter that is .005 to 100um in diameter (dust, fumes, smoke, pollen and more).
Commonly found in offices or homes with poor or under performing filtration systems. Particulates also enter through buildings with poor seals (windows, doors, roofs etc). Older homes can be most subject to this as they shift and settle over time.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC’s, result in a number of averse health effects but some of the most common are irritation, itchiness, drowsiness and fatigue.

VOC gas concentrations are usually much higher indoors than they are outdoors as the gases are emitted from things like household chemicals, paints, cleaning supplies, building materials, office equipment and more.

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is an organic chemical compound commonly found within our environment. It is a colorless gas that has a strong pungent odour known to irritate the eyes, nose and lungs. It is typically discharged into our indoor air via off-gassing from a variety of items commonly found within most homes.
Sources of formaldehyde within a home or office can include pressed wood products such as particle board, plywood, cabinetry, furniture and decorative paneling, as well as building and insulating materials such as Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation, better known as UFFI. UFFI, and pressed wood products indoors, have been known to release formaldehyde at much greater rates than other products.
Long term exposure to Formaldehyde has been known to have the potential to cause a wide variety of unfavorable health effects such as an increased risk of cancer, eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing, wheezing and allergic reactions. Air Quality Testing for indoor formaldehyde levels is known to help reduce risk. Learn more about Formaldehyde Testing Services.

Carbon Monoxide

This colorless, odorless, tasteless gas effects humans by reducing oxygen flow to vital organs. This can cause health effects such as Angina (chest pain) and lack of energy as the body cannot meet oxygen demands. In high concentrations, carbon monoxide (CO) can even cause death if not addressed quickly.

Commonly found in offices or homes that use fossil fuels heating systems. Improper ventilation of these burnt fuels results in the present of carbon monoxide gas. Even vehicles and workplace equipment such as forklifts, generators and any other gas, diesel or propane powered equipment.

Carbon Dioxide

This common indoor contaminant is naturally occurring gas present in the air we breathe. In high concentrations, it can cause headaches, drowsiness, sleepiness and oxygen deprivation, all of which can create poor attention, loss of focus and a heightened heart rate.
CO2 is most commonly found in offices or homes with a high number of people and poor ventilation. Concentrations of carbon dioxide can be directly related to the amount of fresh, outdoor air being introduced in the building. Underperforming HVAC systems can limit fresh air introduction.

Bacteria

Although many forms of bacteria can be present in indoor air, one of the most common is Legionella. Legionellosis, or Legionnaire’s Disease, is the resulting health effect when Legionella bacterium is inhaled. Other forms of bacteria can cause health effects ranging from respiratory failure to toxic poisoning.

Legionella bacterium specifically grows in slow moving or still warm water. In many commercial buildings this is often the case with cooling towers or showheads. As the water evaporates it enters intake systems and is then spread around buildings. In homes, Legionella can be found in hot water heater tanks where it can also spread once evaporated.

Radon

This colorless, odorless, tasteless gas is the number one cause of lung cancer in non smokers and is responsible for thousands of deaths every year in North America.

Found in rock formations near buildings and homes, radon is an atomic gas that comes as a result of the decay of radium.Radon gases can enter buildings and homes through foundation cracks, drains, construction joints, loose pipes, sump pumps and much more. Older homes are sometimes more prone as they shift and settle over time.

Allergens

Common indoor allergens, such as dust mites, animal dander, and cockroach debris are not visible to the naked eye. These allergens have the potential to make us uncomfortable within our indoor environment and trigger asthma attacks, as well as other respiratory ailments.
Exposure prevention to indoor allergens is often the key to managing symptoms. But, it’s difficult to protect yourself from something you can’t see. Making simple changes within your indoor environment can often result in significantly reducing your exposure risk and managing symptomatic responses.

Asbestos

This popular building material is often the cause of respiratory problems such as mesothelioma and even lung cancer. Less severe health problems such things like skin and eye irritation as well as chest pain and dizziness.

Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s) are found predominantly in older homes. The small fibers becomes airborne when the materials are disturbed (during renovation or construction). Once airborne, they are inhaled. While most asbestos fibers are thwarted by our bodies natural defenses, some make their way to our lungs where they can be difficult to treat.

Lead

Lead is a common metal found throughout our environment. When lead is inhaled or ingested, the health effects can be severe in both children and adults. Lead often confuses the body into thinking that it is calcium and other essential nutrients that are necessary for our growth and for a healthy immune system.

Found commonly in older homes with lead based paint. During renovations or construction, lead particles can enter the air where they are ingested. Children are also know to ingest lead based paint chips. Lead can also be found in contaminated soil where fossil fuels like leaded gasoline collect. From here, lead is brought into our homes by people and pets that track contaminated soil in.

Comfort Levels - Temperature & Humidity

Temperature levels can greatly impact our comfort within our indoor space. When we’re uncomfortable, our experience and reaction to other indoor stressors can be exacerbated. It’s important to keep indoor temperature levels within a comfort zone, in which a majority of building occupants will experience a pleasant indoor environment.
Humidity levels that are too high, or too low, can also greatly impact our indoor comfort. Monitoring and managing humidity levels within an indoor space can not only minimize potential issues, but also improve our well-being.

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