Building management should be quick to respond to these complaints. Complaints consist of odors or actual health effects. The investigation may consist of a building walkthrough, occupant interviews and possibly building testing to determine an evaluation of the problem. Almost 90% of the time the HVAC system is the cause of the problem. Other sources of IAQ problems are discussed below.
These organisms include fungi, bacteria, viruses and protozoa which are all present in the indoor environment. These organisms are essential components of the ecosystem. However, when indoor levels exceed outdoor levels, building occupants may suffer from runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue. Some microorganisms such as Stachybotrys chartarum, Penicillium and Aspergillus may release potent mycotoxins possibly resulting permanent lung damage.
I SEE VISIBLE MOLD!
If you see visible mold, clean it up as rapidly as possible. The amount of mold present on surfaces will dictate whether you can clean it yourself or hire an expert for remediation. Also, you must be sure to determine and correct the cause of moisture resulting in mold.
WHEN TO TEST FOR MOLD
If building occupants are feeling any of the symptoms described above and no visible mold is present, then it is time to have a qualified expert test for mold. There are no indoor standards for mold, but if the indoor spore count is greater than outdoors, most likely you have a mold problem that must be remediated. Testing can also be used to locate sources of mold.
Air toxics may arise from volatile inorganic compounds (VOCs) from remodeling projects. Products like paints, wood strippers, adhesives, waxes and cleaners can emit VOCs. Formaldehyde may off-gas from new building materials like plywood and pressed wood. General symptoms may be headaches, lethargy, fatigue, and poor concentration. Complaints may be nonspecific.
An IAQ investigation begins with an initial walkthrough which evaluates the basic factors influencing IAQ (occupants, HVAC system, exposure pathways and contaminant sources). The investigation may be simple or require appropriate sampling methodologies. For example, over spraying of pesticides is sampled differently than VOCs.
AB 732 Toxic Mold Protection Act
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND SERVICES
BES is a full service environmental consulting firm specializing in air quality. Staff consists of toxicologists, scientists, and engineers to assist in evaluations. BES has more than 15 years experience in IAQ investigations. IAQ services include:
· Indoor and ambient air quality sampling, testing and evaluations
· Bacteria and mold sampling and testing
· Worker’s Compensation claims
· Insurance Claims Assistance
· Litigation support
· Pre Occupancy Evaluations
For more information, see Indoor Air Quality Links
Visit BES Consulting for more information about BES Consulting Services.
© 1999 BLOCK ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC.