What is Indoor Air Quality?
Poor indoor air quality
- Poor IAQ can affect your health in many ways and comes from many sources.
- It can lead to respiratory diseases such as asthma.
- It can also cause general symptoms such as headaches, dry eyes, nasal mucus, nausea and tiredness.
- People who already have respiratory problems have a greater chance of developing these symptoms.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
- IAQ simply refers to the quality of the air in your office or home.
- Occupants can become concerned that they have symptoms or health issues that are related to exposures to contaminants in buildings where they work or live.
- A major reason for suspecting indoor air to be the problem is that symptoms often get better when the occupants are not in the building.
- Research has shown that respiratory symptoms and illnesses can be associated with dampuildings. However, it is still unclear exactly what IAQ measurements will show that and occupant is at risk for disease or illness.
- In most instances where an occupant and their doctor suspect a building is causing a health condition, there is very little usable information from medical tests to establish which contaminants are responsible.
- Our indoor environments are very complex and can contain a wide variety of contaminants. Most contaminants of concern are in the form of gases andparticles (dust).
Any occupant who have persistent or worsening symptoms should seek medical evaluation to establish a diagnosis and obtain recommendations for treatment of their condition.
Typical Indoor Sources
- office machines,
- cleaning products,
- construction activities,
- carpets and
- cigarette smoke,
- Insects and
- outdoor pollutants.
- water-damaged building materials,
- microbial growth (mould, and bacterial),
These can also affect how individuals respond to the air inside a building:
- indoor temperatures,
- relative humidity, and
- Ventilation levels.
Understanding the sources of Indoor Air Pollutants (IAPs)
Understanding and controlling IAPs can often help prevent or resolve building-related worker symptoms. Common Indoor Air Pollutants include:
- Mould growing indoors
- Pollen from outdoors
- Dander from pet fur and House dust mites
- Second hand tobacco smoke
- Formaldehyde from glues and insulation materials
- Fumes emitted by imported building materials where substances are replaced with local products that don’t meet local emission standards
- Carbon monoxide that comes from incomplete burning of gases and fuels
- Household / office products such as cleaning chemicals and pesticide sprays
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
- Where possible, opening a window or door or use an air conditioning or ventilation system to bring in outdoor air (assuming it is not polluted itself).
- Cleaning should not just focus on improving the aesthetics but also on improving the health of the indoor by removing pollutants such as dust and dander like pet fur.
- Permanently fix all water leaks to eliminate any sources of moisture for mould growth.
- Use insecticide spray only when absolutely necessary.
- Do not smoke tobacco inside and if smoking outside, then make sure the smoke is not entrained back into the building through doors, windows and ventilation inlets.
- If you see mould growth or if you smell mouldy musty odours, then take is seriously. Mould must be found an eliminated before it spreads too far. Clean up can be a simple matter of using a cloth with detergent or vinegar solution. Never use bleach to clean mould as it is not known to be an effective mould killer and will itself adversely affect your health from exposure to chlorine fumes.
- If you smell any gaseous or chemical odours, then note the circumstances or any equipment, activities or processes that might be emitting them and seek advice from a trained expert or your OHS representative.
Testing for poor Indoor Air Quality
- Testing for poor Indoor Air Quality can include the following:
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
- Airborne Particulates (PM10)
- Product moisture content (as required)
- Relative and specific Humidity
- Airborne and surface mould.
- Carbon Monoxide
- Testing Air Flows And Ventilation Rates
- Formeldehyde Testing
Other IAQ Inspection services include:
- Thermal Infrared Camera Inspections
- Site Inspections And Testing By Trained And Experienced Iaq Specialists
- Testing Of Chemical And Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) / Hapsite
- HVAC System Inspections Including Cooling Coils, Ducts, Fans And Filters
- Advice On OHS Issues / Workers Compensation Claims
- Confined Space / Working At Heights
- Asset Management Plans