Three of the most important factors considered when evaluating indoor air quality are formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOC), and carbon monoxide. These air quality contaminants can all cause serious health problems. High levels of these air contaminants can be hazardous to health and productivity, and each is commonly located in crowded buildings, is poorly constructed, are older, or are unincorporated. Even a small amount of formaldehyde or other VOC is enough to affect human tissue, causing as much as dying in just one hour. If you work in an office building that has poor air quality, the effects could last up to a week or longer. The level of exposure to these toxins could be significant.
While everyone is exposed to some form of air pollution, there are also forms that are more concentrated. The two most common pollutants that cause serious health problems are formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. In addition, some other common toxins are radon and sulfur dioxide. The level of exposure to these toxins can vary, depending on the location of the building, as well as many other factors.
Generally, if the level of exposure to formaldehyde or similar VOCs is known, an air quality testing indoor air quality test will not negatively impact an individual. However, individual differences exist. Some people are more sensitive than others. For example, individuals with asthma have been found to be more sensitive to toxic chemicals, even when other conditions are present.
There are specific procedures for the testing process. Specifically, an air quality testing laboratory will need to collect samples from at least one room in the building. The length of time the samples are retained will depend on the specific suspect material. However, the majority of samples are retained for between one and three days. The sample collection and retention procedures will be specific to each specific company.
Samples are collected by trained professionals who know how to collect them properly. The samples are then evaluated based on their ability to gather and evaluate the types of pollutants. Generally, the technicians will collect the samples through one of several methods. The most common is through a gas-based sampling system. The second method is through a chemical precipitation system.
In-mold growth testing, the technician will collect a sample, place it in a chamber, and set a target analyte level. The sample will then be subjected to a variety of conditions, including ultraviolet light and/or incubation with enzymes. Once the target analyte level is reached, the sample will be checked for mold growth. If mold growth exists, a sample will be re-sterilized, and the entire process will be repeated as necessary until the mold growth is eradicated.
Asbestos Air Quality Testing is typically carried out by the EPA, or the Environmental Protection Agency. These agencies work to regulate the manufacture and transportation of asbestos and regulate the use of asbestos in certain industries, including construction. Prior to the use of asbestos in any structure, it is tested for both its presence and its toxicity. The samples are collected and analyzed before any determination is made as to whether asbestos is a likely cause of the contamination.
Carbon monoxide Air Quality Testing is typically done by the National Ambient Air Quality Commission. This agency sets the standard for the amount of Carbon Monoxide that should be contained in a home at any given time. If levels found are considered unsafe, then the home will be inspected for other potential sources of Carbon Monoxide. Other possible sources include defective gas appliances, gas leaks, improper venting, or ventless fireplaces.
The four main types of indoor air quality testing for other gasses are Indoor Air Quality Testing, Contaminant Testing, Volatile Organic Compounds Testing, and Radon Testing. Of the four, radon testing should be included in your overall routine because it is the most dangerous type of gaseous pollutant.