Indoor air quality testing is vital because many of us live in highly congested spaces with poor indoor air quality, sometimes without knowing it. It is often commonplace for homeowners and business owners to simply assume that the air inside the building is clean and safe. However, it is crucial to continually monitor the air quality of indoor spaces to make sure that there are no health hazards. Indoor air quality testing is a necessity in these situations.
Poor indoor air quality can result in many problems for your family and employees. Many people have breathing difficulties and allergies that manifest because of poor indoor air quality. You may not know that specific substances are floating around in your home or office. These substances can include pollen, mold, mildew, and dust mites. The fact is that any one of these substances could be creating health issues. Having indoor air quality testing conducted regularly can help you to identify problems early and remedy them before they become major health risks.
One of the most common indoor air quality testing results is radon. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can seep into the cracks and gaps of building walls and floorboards. It is estimated that more than two million homes in the United States do not have a protective wall against radon, which can cause a variety of serious health problems. Radon gases reach their maximum level of concentration in only a few minutes. For this reason, it is particularly imperative that you perform indoor air quality testing on a regular basis.
Air pollution outside of buildings is also an issue that must be addressed with frequent indoor air quality testing. There is a significant amount of outdoor air pollution that can disperse onto the open air. This can occur when there is insufficient venting or when building materials are improperly insulated. As a result, you may experience excess moisture, mold, smoke, pet dander, dirt, dust, and animal dander.
To help identify indoor air quality testing results that point to specific contaminants, you will want to consider the different types of contaminants that may exist in your home. These include particulates, vapors, dust, and compounds such as pesticides. Each of these can leave chemical and physical traces in your house that can be very difficult to remove. In addition, the majority of these contaminants are gases, so they will remain in the air long after any source of light has gone out. However, there are some airborne contaminants that break down into smaller particles that easily dissipate. Some examples include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which include benzene and toluene, and organic chemicals.
A comprehensive indoor air quality testing program should include an ozone air generator. Ozone air generators use ozone to create high levels of ozone in a room. The ozone generator will then reduce the levels of all other odors in the room while generating a pleasant aroma. Because VOCs are broken down into small particles when they are released into the air, they are the easiest to remove with an ozone generator. Some other types of air quality test contaminants include sulfates, which cause fumes to become more obnoxious; metals, which are found in the paint on furniture and in other metallic objects; and bacteria, which are often found in the carpet and in other surfaces.
To detect indoor air quality testing results that point to lung cancer, one would typically look for high levels of radon. Radon enters homes through the soil and enters the house through cracks in the walls. Radon is very dangerous, and it has been linked to lung cancer. Although the majority of homes in North America have radon, it is especially important to check for levels that are high in homes that are built before 1992, when the Federal Surface Transportation Control Act required that any new homes contain one or more effective mitigation systems for radon. Even if the short-term test kits detect radon, it is recommended that a long-term test kit be done to determine the extent of radon exposure.
Another common problem with indoor air quality testing is determining whether the levels of formaldehyde, which is a substance produced when wood is processed, are safe for human breathing. Unfortunately, the substance is very dangerous when breathed for prolonged periods of time, and it can also cause memory problems, damage to the nervous system, and more. There are some forms of formaldehyde that are considered safe, but others are considered too dangerous to be used. In addition, lead-based paint is no longer sold for new construction and there are currently studies being conducted to determine what, if any, long term health effects there might be from exposure to lead paint.
Long-term indoor air quality testing can measure for formaldehyde, a chemical that is often found in paint. Although most people do not realize that the paint contains formaldehyde; you can unknowingly increase your risk of health effects by exposing yourself to high levels of formaldehyde through the paint in your home. It is extremely toxic and can cause severe health effects, such as headaches, asthma attacks, and nausea. There are long-term health effects as well, such as cancer and other serious diseases.
The third formaldehyde that you should consider when you are conducting indoor air quality testing is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a tasteless and odorless gas that can cause serious medical problems, including death. This gas is produced through your heating system when it absorbs heat from the combustion of electricity, fuel, or oil. The level of carbon monoxide can vary, depending on the amount of heat in your room. For this reason, you should be sure to test your home’s ventilation system to determine if there is a problem with excess moisture or poor combustion air flow in your home. In addition to being toxic and potentially deadly, carbon monoxide also causes allergic reactions and can make you dizzy, confused, or hyper.