INDOOR AIR QUALITY

INDOOR AIR QUALITY SERVICES

SICK BUILDING SYNDROME

 


Contrary to recent popular opinion, not all indoor air quality complaints are related to mold. And not all allergy complaints are related to mold. Furthermore, not all complaints are equivalent to or necessarily associated with a single cause.

Omega Environmental Consulting identifies and isolates the cause of building-related health complaints in a focused, cost-effective manner. This approach aids in minimizing expensive air sampling and analysis.  In some cases, given a logical conclusion of obvious discrepancies, air sampling may be avoided entirely. Experience speaks volumes when it comes to solving complex challenges.

 

 

WE REVIEW DOCUMENTS/BUILDING COMPONENTS AND INTERVIEW OCCUPANTS

Documents Review

  • Blueprints-AutoCAD expertise able to work off as-built drawings supplied by building management
  • Product MSDS sheet on all supplies (if available)
  • Written complaints
  • Specification of recent furniture and equipment

Building Walkthrough Occupied Areas

  • Air handling system(s)
  • Occupant activities
  • Interviews with facility personnel in industrial and commercial properties
  • Maintenance
  • Custodial

Observations of Areas and Activities Exterior to the Building (e.g., relative location of sources of chemicals, microbes, pollinating trees, outdoor air contaminants, moisture on building materials)

  • HVAC system including the air handling unit, ducting, air return plenum, and air supply vents
  • Septic fields in rural environments.
  • Vegetation in and around the building
  • Assessment of occupant complaints

Interviews

  • Short easy-to-complete questionnaires
  • Develop a theory as to the cause of the health complaints
  • Test the theory by sampling and/or other means of testing (e.g., smoke testing the plumbing lines or thermal imaging)

 

WE TEST OUR THEORY BY SAMPLING PROBLEM/NON-PROBLEM AND OUTDOOR AIR AND/OR TAKING SURFACE SAMPLES

 

A few of the air/surface samples we may collect and assess include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Forensic dust sampling–used where allergens are suspect or there is an unknown visible surface contaminant
  • Carbon dioxide– determine adequacy of fresh air, sometimes used during the preliminary building survey
  • Carbon monoxide–gas-fired furnaces and water heaters
  • Formaldehyde-off-gassing from particle board and foam insulation
  • Volatile organic compounds (e.g., paint solvents)
  • Allergens–molds, fungi, bacteria, insect parts-and-pieces, and dust mites
  • Mold/Moisture–visible or not visible mold growth and identification of known or unknown sources of moisture (e.g., HVAC system)
  • Endotoxins-endotoxins are not always produced to toxigenic molds (e.g.,Stachybotrys chartarun) in non-threatening environments
  • Toxigenic and pathogenic molds
  • Bacteria-environmental, pathogenic and commensal
  • 4-Phenylcyclohexene-irritating carpet component generally associated with rubber backing
  • Insecticides and pesticides
  • Carcinogens-cancer causing chemicals such as cigarette smoke (e.g., benzo[a]pyrene and formaldehyde)
  • Ionizing radiation-excessive levels may cause cancer
  • Vibration-low frequency noise (e.g., poorly dampened HVAC system) may cause health effects such as depression, anxiety, distraction, agitation, or exhaustion

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