How can I tell if there are indoor air pollutants?

The only way to diagnose indoor air with certainty is through scientific evaluation.  The people who occupy the building, however, are also affected by the air inside it, and their physical symptoms can provide several important indications that the indoor may be contaminated.  Conditions such as headaches; eye, nose or throat irritation; dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; difficulty concentrating and fatigue are all indicators that there may be contaminants in the air.Back

What can be done about it?

The first step is to determine whether there really is a problem.  Most buildings do not have serious indoor air pollution (contamination).  Usually, improved filtering of ventilation systems plus proper maintenance and cleaning procedures of building and ventilation system (preventative maintenance) is all that is required.  If there is a more serious issue, the most important thing is to locate and eliminate the source of the problem.  Improved filtering and cleaning procedures can temporarily reduce emissions, but they can never eliminate it.  The only way to fix an indoor air quality problem is to locate and remove the source.  Also, if the cause if found to be structural, reparation of the cause will ensure there is no repeat contamination. Back

Is this problem growing?

Yes.  The energy crisis in the 1970's motivated owners and managers to make their buildings much tighter.  Since that time, to conserve energy and save money on heating and air conditioning, less outside air is brought in.  The inside air is re-circulated and "reconditioned" through filters so that outside air does not have to be used.  As a result, any contaminant trapped inside the building, that is too small for the filters to remove, is constantly re-circulated throughout the building by the heating and air conditioning systems.  When the building has a source for contaminants inside it, those pollutants build up until they affect the health and well-being of the people in the building.Back

How can I tell if the building is making me sick?

There are two kinds of illnesses people get from indoor air:  Sick Building Syndrome is the term used to describe the kinds of symptoms people experience while they are in the building, but which diminish or disappear when they are away from the building for a while.  Building Related Illness is a condition in which occupants contract a disease that is usually traceable to a specific cause and remains with the occupants once they leave the building.Back

What kind of illnesses can I get from a building?

Fungi, commonly known as mould or mildew, can cause infectious diseases, allergic diseases, and toxic diseases.  Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is suspected to be caused by certain microorganisms, and Aspergillosis is caused by fungi in the Aspergillus family.  Viruses cause infectious diseases such as colds and flu.  Examples of infectious diseases caused by bacteria present in indoor air are Legionnaires’ Disease which is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila; and tuberculosis which is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.Back



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