Your Guide to Indoor Air Quality Assessment
The Importance of Good Indoor Air Quality
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic sent us all indoors and introduced us to facemasks, we had been spending more time indoors than ever before. Now with the added time indoors it is becoming even more important to make sure that our indoor air quality is as pure and healthy as possible. For this reason we need to be thinking about three very important things:
- What the main causes of indoor air pollution are.
- How to assess indoor air quality.
- How we can best improve the quality of our indoor air.
Addressing these very important issues in order to help you understand how to conduct an indoor air quality assessment and improve your overall indoor air quality is the purpose of this article.
What Are Common Sources of Indoor Air Pollution?
In addition to our homes we should be concerned about office buildings, schools, shopping malls, factories and other indoor businesses, because any of them could be filled with toxic pollutants that could cause problems with our health. Some of the most common pollutants are:
- Mold and mildew
- Dust and pollen
- Carbon monoxide
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Chemical-based cleaners and deodorizers
Some of these come from natural sources while others are from chemicals, combustion or banned industrial products.
Why Indoor Air Quality Assessment is So Vital
Unfortunately, the health effects of indoor air pollution can far exceed simple sneezing and sniffling. Although those are the most common symptoms, allergies can develop, chemicals can cause severe irritation to eyes and lungs and, if the contamination is serious enough and peoples’ sensitivity is heightened as well, they may experience respiratory problems like congestion, coughing and shortness of breath. In cases of chemical pollution, workers may become dizzy, get headaches, experience nausea or even experience an increased heart rate. When exposed to some contaminants for prolonged time periods, indoor air pollution can lead to overall fatigue and even lung cancer. Therefore, given the importance of indoor air quality for our health, we next need to understand how to assess indoor air quality.
How to Conduct an Indoor Air Quality Assessment
In many cases, homeowners and building managers can get started with consumer-level testing kits, to get an overall picture of their indoor air quality and what issues need attention. Beginning an assessment with a testing kit can help them make better informed decisions about the specific kinds of indoor air quality (IAQ) challenges they face. While many of these tests are rather cost-effective they will probably only help you get started with your indoor air quality assessment.
When problems are found, or your results require more robust testing to support your findings and seek the needed solutions, most business, factory and apartment building owners need to take the next step and contact a professional environmental testing laboratory. These air quality specialists know how to conduct an indoor air quality assessment that is thorough and specific for your situation and needs. They will help you collect good air samples that are truly representative of your building’s typical IAQ and that do not contain any outside particles, which create problems on lab testing results.
Laboratory engineers will help you test for the most likely pollutants rather than all of them, which helps you identify the most likely contaminants. This approach will also keep expenses lower and save time. Testing labs often begin by checking for tell-tale signs of certain pollutants, especially smells in the air. Since all smells are particulate, a strange odor usually points to something unusual in the air. Another method they use is to identify the most common symptoms of your building’s occupants. Often, there are specific symptoms that will help them identify which air contaminants are the culprit(s).
The main goals, when seeking to assess and improve indoor air quality, are to either:
- Eliminate the source of a given pollutant, or
- Ventilate your indoor space well enough that the presence of pollutants in the air are no longer a health threat.
Depending on the type and severity of the pollutant, you will likely need a combination of these solutions to fully treat any issues.
Quality environmental testing labs offer the very best testing results. They will supply you with a full indoor air quality assessment report that measures all types of potential hazards and pollutants down to the lowest potential levels of detection. This kind of excellent indoor air quality testing is best sought from experienced, reputable and certified environmental testing laboratories. like Torrent Laboratory.
- Torrent Lab is the premier environmental testing laboratory for California and Hawaii.
- Torrent provides the fastest turnaround times in the industry with unparalleled on-time performance with our indoor air quality assessment reports.
- Torrent Laboratory’s ambient air testing services are certified by both the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Programs (ELAP). Knowing we must meet the high level of scrutiny required by these ELAPs gives our clients the highest level of confidence in our data.
- Torrent offers the most impeccable record of quality service and testing results for air quality testing laboratories in the industry.