How Do You Know if You Need Air Quality Testing?
A new study just published by the Lancet Commission on pollution and human health discovered that approximately 9 million people die each year from the health effects of pollution. Almost 75% of those deaths are the result of air pollution. While the vast majority of these deaths occur in poor and middle income nations, the facts of the numbers are alarming. Although most of the dangerous pollution in this report is to our outdoor environments, indoor air pollution continues to be a serious issue as well, in part because of our denigration of the overall environment.
An Overview of Air Quality Testing
Studies of data collected over the past few decades reveal that the air inside our homes, offices and other buildings can often be worse in quality than the air outdoors. This means that even if we live in large cities many of us are breathing in less healthy air when we are indoors. Poor air quality in homes, offices, businesses, factories and other indoor spaces, means that our health is likely to be more compromised by our exposure to indoor air pollution than to outdoor pollution. This fact, in addition to the fact that people are spending much more of their time indoors, is an unsettling reminder for us that we must be doing all that we can to improve the quality of our indoor air.
The effects of poor indoor air quality can be far ranging and very deleterious for human health and quality of life. Taking the necessary steps to identify the causes and sources of indoor air pollution and understanding which factor would increase poor indoor air quality the most, are extremely important ways to improve overall human health.
The answer involves taking steps to understand what good air quality is, what bad air quality is, what causes poor air quality, how to test for poor air quality in homes, offices, factories and businesses, and how we can improve indoor air quality.
What Are Some Poor Air Quality Symptoms?
The effects of poor air quality can quietly creep up on people. Poor air quality symptoms may begin with sniffles and sneezing but can lead to headaches, dizziness, allergies, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, nausea and even lung problems or cancer. Dealing with these health issues robs your home or workplace of much of the joy and interrelationship that forms the basis of good living and a positive outlook. This inevitably leads to decreased productivity and overall dissatisfaction with work and life.
Signs of Poor Air Quality in Homes and Offices
Besides an increase in the symptoms mentioned already, the appearance of mold on walls or ceilings, an increase in detectable smells of a chemical or otherwise unpleasant nature or an increase in overall dust and pollen indoors, are signs of poor air quality in homes and offices. Increased ventilation can help with some of these issues, but getting rid of them for good will require more stringent efforts that begin with air quality testing to identify precisely the contributing factors.
What Factors Contribute to Poor Air Quality?
When identifying what causes poor air quality indoors, it is important to consider that one test will not be capable of identifying all of the potentially harmful pollutants. With this in mind, it is helpful to first identify what kinds of pollutants you suspect are causing your symptoms and issues. The EPA lists three different kinds of indoor pollutants:
- Biological pollutants: including bacteria, mold, pollen, dander and dust mites. Getting a good idea of which of these you will test for and where to find them in the highest concentration helps the testing process. Test kits are available to take air samples and dust samples.
- Chemical pollutants: such as volatile organic compounds (i.e. formaldehyde), pesticides, PAHs and other chemicals, such as radon or lead.
- Pollutants from combustion: carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke. Sources of carbon monoxide in your indoor space could be gas or wood fireplaces, unvented space heaters (gas or kerosene) or gas stoves. Second hand smoke from cigarettes and other tobacco-like products contain over 40 carcinogens and are known to be detrimental to the respiratory health of children.
Identifying ahead of time which pollutants could be causing your indoor air quality problems will help keep the costs of your home air quality test(s) manageable. This is why indoor air quality testing is so important for our long term health.
Indoor air quality analysis is evolving rapidly, spurred on by heightened public awareness of environmental issues and increased accountability for meeting air quality regulatory standards. Torrent Laboratory has made a significant commitment to indoor air testing and analysis through investments into new technologies, methods and advanced procedures. Torrent has the most technically advanced air quality testing laboratory equipment available, so that we can provide highly accurate and reliable results, fast.
Torrent Laboratories ambient air quality testing uses the most advanced technologies and testing methods such as NIOSH, OSHA, ASTM and EPA Air Compendium Methods (TO,CO, IO), to provide superior results for our clients. Our expertly qualified and experienced engineers use the most up-to-date methods to identify particulates, volatile and semivolatile organic compounds, metals, gasses and pesticides or dioxins in your indoor environment, and provide you with on-time analytical results.
Torrent Laboratories experts will ensure that your ambient air quality tests identify all potential contaminants. Our team will help you to meet or exceed all necessary standards. We will also work closely with your needs and tailor our services and reports to meet your unique problems.