A study in which mother wore personal air monitors during pregnancy has concluded that those that were exposed to poor air quality had children with IQ scores that were 4 points lower than those less exposed.
This research clearly shows the detrimental effects of poor air quality. The pollutants in this test were known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). PAH is released from burning of fossil fuels like coal, and gas, and even tobacco.
The study was done by a component of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
How can you really manage the health and safety of the indoor air inside your building?
An air quality room sensor will help you continuously monitor the quality of your indoor air. An air quality room sensor can be placed right where you need, and this is important to property measure the quality of you indoor air. A sensor could be right inside an air duct or inside a specific room where you suspect you might have an air quality problem.
A sensor can help to detect containment’s that could be coming from carpet or furniture.
Some sensors offer real-time reporting to a centralized system. Other home-based sensors can be placed inside a home or office for a set period of time to sample the air quality over time.
Those who suffer from allergies could use an air quality room sensor to check the quality of air inside a home or apartment before moving in, thus avoiding aggravating their allergies.
Ventilation. Increase the ventilation, or improve the current ventilation system. Make sure the system and any filters are properly maintained. There should be enough supply of natural fresh air into the building or residence.
Air Treatment. Treat the air with air filtration devices designed to clean the air. Control the air temperature and humidity levels appropriately.
Other tips for improving air quality can be as simple as plants. There plants can help to clean your indoor air: peace lily, bamboo palm, English ivy, mums, and gerbera daisies.
Sick Building Syndrome condition show symptoms of headache, nausea, dizziness, eye, respiratory irritation, muscle pain, etc. The symptoms disappear when the worker or homeowner leaves to live or work in another building.
Some problems with outdoor wood boilers.
When you see smoke pouring out of an outdoor wood boiler, this is a signal of incomplete combustion.
Another problem is the intermittent heat demand that occurs with use of the furnaces. When demand is low the wood will smolder, which then builds up creosote. Once the demand rises and intensity increases the creosote is burned off in the form of black soot into the air.
The furnaces being stand alone units means the stack is quite low to the ground, thus the smoke and soot can drift more easily into occupied spaces.
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Symptoms of poor IAQ are as seeming simple as an odd smell in the air, to more extreme, where bad air may make people sick.
It can be very difficult to pin point the cause of the air quality degradation due to the wide variety of causes and the different immunity and sensitivity levels of people.
Some of the common reasons for air problems are carbon monoxide, mold, and fabrics.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) did a study and found that in 500 cases, the top reasons for IAQ problems were: Inadequate ventilation, an indoor contamination, and outdoor contamination, microbial contamination, and contamination from building fabric.
One of the firsts test to check is Radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas. Tests for radon are very inexpensive compared to other indoor air quality tests.
Carbon Monoxide monitors. Each home should have a carbon monoxide monitor, they are also inexpensive and will not only test your air, they can save your life, as carbon monoxide can be deadly.
Dosimeters. These can test for volatile organic compounds, specific chemicals and/or materials.
You can purchase monitors or detectors to measure; formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, water vapor and other pollutants. The devices can be setup inside your home for a specified period of time, and then sent back to a lab for proper analysis.
air quality, testing
This unit is generally priced under $100.
VOC decipol measuring range: 0.1 to 10.0 decipols
Oregon Scientific makes an indoor air quality monitor. This unit will monitor the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOC’s inlcude:
- cigarette smoke
- personal car products
- household cleaners
- pet dander
Can be set to take readings every 7days, 7 hours, 70 minutes, or every 70 seconds.
The unit allows you to set a certain allowable VOC level, and will sound an alarm if a set level is reached.
Why the big concern now about indoor air quality (IAQ), is the air quality worse now that it was in the past?
IAQ did not used to be a big problem. This is because before the 1970’s, there were almost no energy conservation rules and regulations for buildings and homes. Much of this changed in an effort to conserve heat and cold losses in buildings, and ultimately conserve more energy and cut costs.
Structures began to be built more tightly, with better windows, and improved seals. This resulted in less natural air circulation.
The Sick Building Syndrom (SBS) entered into our culture during that time.