AIR QUALITY TESTING:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that the quality of indoor air is a greater threat to our health than air pollution levels outside! Indoor pollutants can be up to 100 times higher than outdoors! The chemicals emitted by products we use every day can cause breathing problems, irritation or even sickness. In fact, 80% of the offices and homes they’ve tested had come out with poor quality of air.
The most popular test for Indoor Air Quality is done using Air-O-Cell cassettes®.
The Air-O-Cell™ Air Sampling cassette is a sampling device designed for the rapid collection and analysis of a wide range of airborne aerosols. These include fungal spores, pollen, insect parts, skin cell fragments, fibers, (e.g. asbestos, fiberglass, cellulose, clothing fibers, etc.) and inorganic particulate (e.g. ceramic, fly ash, copy toner, etc.). Air enters the cassette, the particles become impacted on the sampling substrate, and the air leaves through the exit orifice. The airflow and patented cassette housing is designed in such a way that the particles are distributed and deposited equally on a special glass slide contained in the cassette housing called the ``trace." The Air-O-Cell® collects both viable and non-viable sample specimens, providing a much broader overview of potential allergens contaminants than conventional sampling techniques. Useful for initial site testing, especially if fungal growth is not visible.
Quick and simple procedure
Fast turn around times available
Low chance of sample contamination
After sampling is completed, the cassettes are sent to a laboratory, where the slides are removed and direct microscopic analysis can be immediately performed. The collection media is compatible with a wide range of biological stains and refractive index oils, allowing direct quantitative analysis of organic and inorganic particulate.
Contact us to schedule a free estimate:
Mike: 718-551-5989 Peter: 718-971-9191
Read on to learn more about the pollutants - VOC, Mold and Formaldehyde
Molds are minuscule fungi found everywhere, not just indoors but also outdoors. However, their growth is elevated or possible only in damp, humid and warm conditions. Their reproduction happens by release of spores in the air, which are transported to different places where they germinate and multiply. During their active growth stage, molds release a few gases into the air, which are classified as Mold Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOCs). Most of these gases can’t be detected by smell!
Molds thrive in insulation and wood, behind walls, carpets and basically, anywhere they can grow without being detected. When moisture in the air goes up, mold growth will happen. This moisture build-up can happen do to plumbing leaks, ground water penetration or even condensation in air-conditioning or heating systems. Also, when a drywall becomes wet or damp and isn’t dried in 24-48h, you can rest assured mold growth will follow.
When mold exists in large proportions, it is a potential health hazard and increases the risk of allergies and respiratory problems in those with sensitivity to mold. It can also cause hay fever-like symptoms including itchy eyes, runny nose, skin rashes and sneezing. The reactions could either be immediate after exposure or delayed. Those with mold allergies can also exhibit symptoms of severe reactions like breathlessness and fever. Mold spores could also be linked asthma. People with chronic lung problems or reduced immunity can develop lung infections due to prolonged exposure.
VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOC):
VOCs as they’re popularly called, Volatile Organic Compounds, are chemicals emitted in the form of gas from liquids or solids that merge with the air circulating indoors. This happens at room temperatures and the concentration of such chemicals can be anywhere of up to 100 times higher indoors, than outdoors! Numerous products that are used in our homes or other areas everyday emit VOCs into the air. This happens not just when they’re being used, at times, it happens even when they’re stored in our homes or offices!
All VOCs are potentially detrimental, though some are more dangerous then others. The worst part is they’re emitted from many products we use in homes commonly. These VOCs are Phenol, Benzene and Formaldehyde and are listed as HAPs, short for Hazardous Air Pollutants by the EPA or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If you want a list of all the188 HAPs, check out the EPA website here.
The USGBC, which is U.S. Green Building Council states that when the levels of VOCs hit 500 ng/L (nano-grams per liter) or more, they become a health hazard. Even so, data from a number of households show the average value is an astounding 1,200 ng/L, which is more than twice the level that’s recommended. Even minor elevation from the recommended level can cause health concerns for individuals, particularly children, elderly, pregnant women and asthmatic patients.
Formaldehyde, a chemical used widely in manufacturing of building materials and many household products vaporizes into air and causes potential health problems. It is a by-product of combustion that happens when burning natural gas, gasoline, wood, or even tobacco. Formaldehyde gas is released into the air. Most common and largest sources of formaldehyde in our homes include: plywood paneling, pressed wood products that include particle board, and medium density fiberboard or MDF, carpets, foam insulation, drapery fabrics, cigarettes, glues and un-vented appliances that burn fuel including kerosene heaters or gas stoves.
Health issues caused do to formaldehyde exposure include: Irritation and burning of throat, eyes and nose, skin rashes, nausea and breathing problems. Higher levels of formaldehyde can cause asthma attacks. Besides, formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance), which is listed a Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) by the EPA. The WHO recommends that the levels of Formaldehyde should be below 100ng/L or 80 ppb.
However, since it is commonly present in many household products and building materials every home should be tested for the presence of formaldehyde.
These products include:
- Paints & varnishes
- Moth balls
- Building materials
- Fuel oil
- Cooking oils, etc.
- Cleaning supplies
- Vinyl flooring
- Growing mold
- Copiers & printers
- Upholstery & fabrics
- Glues & adhesives
- Permanent markers
- Craft materials
- Hair care products
- Air fresheners
- Furniture (pressed wood)
- Vehicle exhaust
- Tobacco smoke