Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Assessment
An IAQ Assessment encompasses many aspects of Air Quality in the home and includes:
- A client interview to determine areas of focus or concern
- Use of scientific instruments to obtain instant IAQ readings
- Testing for biological contaminants – ie. molds, bacteria
- Testing of household dust for pollutants and allergens
- Testing for Formaldehyde and/or VOCs (chemical offgassing)
- Check for moisture problems or potential moisture sources
- Check heating/air conditioning system(s) for contamination
- Electronic check of gas appliances for gas leaks
- Measurement of Carbon Monoxide & Carbon Dioxide
- Lab analysis of air samples and surface samples
Other Air Quality/Environmental Testing
Lab testing available for:
- Mold spores, mold DNA (ERMI, HERTSMI-2 and mold mycotoxins)
- Mold in dust, furniture, mattresses, air, on surfaces
- Microbial VOC’s (chemicals emitted by active molds)
- Sewer Gas
- Dust mite, mouse, canine, cockroach and feline allergen
- Bacteria Identification (air or surface)
- Pesticides, Heavy Metals
- Volatile organics such as formaldehyde, benzene, chlorine, ozone, naphthalene, toluene and many more.
Odors can be caused by fungal growth, microbial VOC’s (mold/bacteria), chemical vapors or gases. An odor investigation includes several tests to eliminate possible sources. Odors are usually more perceptible when the temperature and relative humidity rise. If an odor gets worse over time, its likely source is biological or gaseous in nature. If the odor seems to get better over time, it’s more likely to stem from a chemical source, as chemical offgassing generally dissipates over time. There are exceptions to that however. Chemical odors could get worse if the sun heats up the room or humidity rises. A mold odor can dissipate during dry periods and worsen after rains or during humid weather.
VOC (Volatile organic Compounds) Testing
There are several methods used to test for chemicals or to identify the offending chemical(s). The real-time method involves sophisticated electronic equipment which measures the ppb (parts per billion) or ppm (parts per million) concentration of a specific chemical or gas. This method is used if the offending chemical is known and you wish to know if the quantity is above a threshold (i.e. OSHA, NIOSH limits).
Another method is to collect ambient indoor air for a specific period of time (2 to 3 hours) into a specially prepared glass tube. The tube is then shipped to the chemistry lab for analysis via gas chromatography. The lab will provide a report listing the top 10 chemicals found in the air sample and the quantity in Parts per Billion. This method is used for odor investigations or when occupants are symptomatic, to identify which chemical might be causing the odor or the symptoms (or both).
Pesticide testing is available for surfaces, air and soil. If a building is suspected to be contaminated by pesticide dust, this fact can be confirmed with surface samples. This entails collecting swipes from various horizontal surface areas and sending them to the lab for analysis. Pieces of clothing, carpeting, drapes, etc. can also be analyzed for pesticide content. Pesticides tend to cling to synthetics so these materials are best chosen for the testing.
Air sampling for pesticides is also available and involves collecting ambient air samples and having the lab analyze them. Pesticide testing is tricky because labs cannot test for ANY pesticide. You must specify which family of pesticides you suspect (organochlorines, organophosphates, and pyrethrins). Soil testing is available as well and would be applicable for areas where children will be known to play.
Your choice of water testing will depend on whether you need to test city water or well water. There are different issues with each. You may wish to test city water for lead if you suspect the city supply pipe is a lead pipe or you may wish to know the PH of your tap water. Well water should be tested regularly for pesticide runoff, nitrates, coliform bacteria, etc. Water testing simply entails obtaining a collection kit from our lab and filling specific bottles with water from your tap.).
Soil testing is performed in children play areas for the presence of lead, arsenic and other metals. This type of testing involves the collection of soil samples which are sent to a lab for analysis.