Experts in air testing for home, office and industrial sites.
Get your home or office air checked today!
Call 978-705-7914 or email email@example.com to schedule a IAQ survey
Maintaining good indoor air quality is important for your health. According to the EPA, indoor air quality poses a greater health hazard than outdoor air pollution, with pollutant levels averaging 2 to 5 times higher than outside air. And with people now spending about 90% of their time indoors, exposure to these air pollutants has never been more significant. Products and materials present in our homes constantly emit chemicals, called VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the air. The slightest elevation in humidity can cause mold to grow anywhere in the home—often in places that go undetected, like behind walls or under carpeting.
Exposure to VOCs and growing mold can cause a number of health issues, from headaches to respiratory irritation to asthma exacerbation. Your health could depend on knowing exactly what’s in the air you breathe everyday. It is a known fact that prolonged chemical exposure can cause health problems, particularly for chemically-sensitive individuals, those with asthma or other chronic respiratory issues, pregnant women, and children. IAQ Survey tests provide a detailed yet affordable means of measuring these chemical levels in any home. We offer several different analyses, depending on the type of air contaminant you wish to measure. The analyses are inexpensive, yet extremely comprehensive in their findings. With an IAQ Survey, it becomes easy for you to help guide you to make improvements to your home air quality, thus giving you a peace of mind that your home is a safe place to breathe.
Features and Benefits
Monitors for hundreds of airborne VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and reports total level in home
- Gives quick, comprehensive assessment of whether or not there’s a problem with home air
Monitors for Mold VOCs and reports total level in home
- Indicates if there is actively growing mold in the home that can and cannot be seen
Predicts sources of VOCs
- Identifies building-related VOCs that could be of concern to a homebuyer or home occupant
- Identifies lifestyle-related VOCs originating from the contents of the home that could be causing health or respiratory issues for the home’s occupants
- Allows for development of an action plan to improve air quality
Identifies significant, most prevalent VOCs in home air
- Particularly useful for those who need to know which specific chemical compounds were found
Additional tests available for Formaldehyde and Tobacco Smoke
- Provides knowledge if these known carcinogens are present and at what level
Different variations of assessments available
- Choose best option based upon your budget, level of indoor air quality concern, and desire for detail.
Whether you are looking to buy a home, sell one, or are just interested in good home maintenance, you want to make sure the air in the home is safe to breathe.
Buying a Home?
When you are buying a home, always select a home inspector that will diligently review the structural, electrical, and plumbing components of the home before you buy. This way, any issues uncovered can be corrected by the owner or within the purchase agreement. But how do you determine if the Indoor Air Quality of the home will jeopardize the health of you and your family? See how a low-cost Indoor Air Quality Assessment can find potential hidden issues with a home and protect your future investment.
Selling a Home?
If you are selling a home it is wise to have a pre-inspection done to make sure no hidden issues will present themselves when a potential buyer has made an offer to buy your home. Many home buyers are now requesting Indoor Air Quality audits. See how you can use a low-cost test to make sure your home air quality is within safe limits and to identify potential issues that can be remediated prior to putting your home on the market
Feeling ill at Home?
Sometimes it’s what you don’t know that can hurt you. Make sure the air in your home is safe to breathe. An IAQ Home Survey professional test measures and reports on the air in the home for chemicals and hidden mold that could be detrimental to your health or that could cost you thousands of dollars to remediate if left undetected.
Here are some important facts to know:
1.The EPA has reported that home air can have 100 times more chemicals inside than outside.
2.The EPA has also reported that adults and kids now spend most of their time indoors(90%).
3.The CDC has reported that 20+ million adults have asthma, and the National Asthma Survey has reported that asthma is the most prevalent chronic disease among children. These numbers continue to increase annually, suggesting that the indoor environment plays a contributing role in this trend.
4.Mold growth can be present within the home and be hidden behind walls or underneath carpeting or flooring.
5.The use of Formaldehyde is prevalent in certain building materials and the concentration of this known cancer-causing agent can be many times the safe level.
In many cases active mold growth is not visible and can go undetected
Molds are fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae that spread to form a network or colony called mycelium. There are thousands of known species of molds, although a much smaller number of mold species are commonly found in indoor environments.
Water intrusion and moisture are key elements that cause mold growth. Often these conditions originate from leaky pipes behind walls or under floors, roof leaks, improperly installed windows or excessive humidity. In many cases, these conditions are non-observable – we just don’t know they exist.
Whether mold is visible or not, i.e., “hidden mold,” certain chemicals called mold volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) are produced as the mold digests its food. Prolonged exposure to these VOCs can have serious health effects especially in infants, small children, the elderly and anyone with chemical sensitivities or chronic respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies. Because mold VOCs are produced as the mold grows, they can be used as an indicator of active mold.
There are a number of analysis options available that include mold VOCs.
There are many possible places for mold to grow, some are less obvious than others. The list below provides a few places to look.
- Air conditioning units or drain lines
- Near plumbing leaks
- Near roof or wall leaks
- Basement water intrusion from surrounding soil
- Any consistently humid area
- Near condensation around windows or any other condensation locations like exterior walls (typically where there is a temperature gradient that allows water to condense)
- Freezer/refrigerator door seals, especially in summer
- Freezer/refrigerator drain line and drip pan (if present)
- Indoor plants
- Empty beverage containers and glasses, especially if left for trash or recycling without being rinsed out
- Wastebaskets and trash cans containing discarded food or wet items
- Sump pumps, especially when the pump does not cycle often
- Stand pipes and traps
- Books, magazines, and newspapers if they have gotten wet or sit for a long time
- Outside mold, especially if the air intake is near the ground and landscaping near the building uses wood chips or mulch
Fire & Smoke Investigations
Is the smoke really gone?
One of the most difficult challenges in cleaning up after a fire is determining the level of remaining fire and smoke residue. We typically are aware of these residues as visual traces (e.g., soot, char, or ash on surfaces), smoky odors, or health effects (e.g., burning eyes, difficulty breathing, etc.). There are two primary concerns with fire and smoke residue:
- Has the fire or smoke residue been removed to an acceptable level?
- Are there any health or exposure concerns with any remaining traces?
- Fire produces a complicated mixture of particulates (soot, ash, and char) and chemicals that makes a comprehensive analysis challenging. By combining analyses of these major components, a far better and more inclusive picture of the residues can be accomplished.
- There are two primary fire situations, indoor or structure fires and wild fires. Indoor fires are complicated by the contents and building materials, as well as the level and strength of the fire. Wild fire smoke can travel long distances and impact buildings miles away from the main fire.
- In addition to the fire and smoke residue, mold is often a concern in post-fire situations because the water or other fire-fighting measures used creates excess moisture that mold can use to grow.
- For assistance with planning your upcoming project or to learn more about fire and smoke residue testing, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org 978-705-7914
One of the most noticeable after effects of a fire is the smoky odor. This is caused by certain chemicals in the air that are given off by burned materials or by non-burned materials that have adsorbed these chemicals and are re-emitting them slowly over time. There are other chemicals without a noticeable odor that are also produced as a result of a fire that are also present in the air that can be detected with an air sample.
During cleanup or remediation most of the lighter chemicals will dissipate due to normal ventilation or as part of the remediation, but the more persistent chemicals, which are also the heavier or less volatile chemicals, can linger for months or even years. Since these persistent chemicals are not very volatile they will often condense out of the air or be adsorbed by various materials. In these cases, an analysis of materials that were near the fire or smoke (e.g., furniture upholstery or padding, carpet, drywall, dust, etc.) may be the best way to determine if residual contamination is still present.
What’s that smell?
Our sense of smell can be amazing and annoying at the same time. Many of us can detect certain odors that are annoying, bothersome, and can even make us sick. More importantly determining the source of the smell can drive us crazy! We come into contact with many scents all throughout our day. What happens if the odor is in our home or work environment where we spend a majority of our time? Some VOCs can be odorless but many do have an odor & odor threshold. To remove the source of the offensive odor we must first find what it is coming from.
An odor, smell, scent, or fragrance is caused when one or more volatile chemicals enter our nasal passages and are detected by specialized receptors. These can be interpreted as pleasant or unpleasant, as well as variations in description such as flowery, spicy, ethereal, acrid, musky, etc.
VioClean provides an answer to the odor woes. Our knowledgeable technical staff and solutions based analyses can help to determine the point source odor and vapor problems. VioClean offers varying levels of odor detection/solution analyses from our Survey line of products to our 500+ compound Comp-Air report.
Contact us at email@example.com 978-705-7914.
Our sense of smell, also known as olfaction, is activated when certain volatile chemicals dissolve into the mucus lining as they pass through the naval passages and bind to olfactory receptors in the nasal cavity which transmit signals to the olfactory bulb which is part of the brain structure directly above the nasal cavity. How these signals get interpreted by the brain as different smells is still being researched, but essentially these olfactory receptors break down the smell because each receptor that is activated recognizes only a specific characteristic of the odorant and the combination of the different receptors that are activated is what allows us to recognize and identify specific smells. Odor molecules transmit messages to the limbic system, which is the area of the brain that governs emotional response. Therefore, odors can be tightly linked to specific emotions and trigger memories.
The odor threshold is the lowest concentration of a chemical compound at which an odor is perceptible. There are a number of ways to measure the odor threshold, leading to a wide range of threshold concentrations from different organizations. An individual’s specific threshold to a particular odor depends on the frequency, concentration, and duration of the odor.
Odors can be difficult to classify since everyone perceives odors differently. However, there are some classification methods that help to define the odor. One of the common classification schemes includes: fragrant, woody/resinous, fruity (non-citrus), chemical, mint/peppermint, sweet, popcorn, lemon, pungent, and decay. Despite numerous studies in this area there are no universal descriptors for odor as there are for taste.
Health concerns and issues due to formaldehyde are increasing due to its wide use in building materials and household products
Agencies such as the EPA and the National Cancer Institute are stating that above certain levels of formaldehyde in the air (0.1 ppm or 100 ppb) individuals may experience adverse health effects. But how do we know the levels of formaldehyde in our environment?
When formaldehyde is present in the air at levels exceeding 100 ppb, some individuals may experience adverse effects such as watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; wheezing; nausea; and skin irritation. Some people are very sensitive to formaldehyde, whereas others have no reaction to the same level of exposure. In addition to the immediate symptoms, formaldehyde is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen, known to cause cancer in humans, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
One of the complicating factors in formaldehyde investigations is the variety and number of sources. There are a surprising number of sources in various building materials, everyday products, and natural processes.
The largest source of formaldehyde in homes is from resins used in adhesives and binders in engineered wood products such as particleboard, plywood, medium density fiberboard (MDF), and oriented strand board (OSB) as well as more wood finished products like engineered flooring. Other building products, such as insulation, glues and adhesives, and paints and coatings may also contain formaldehyde. There are also a variety of non-building products that contain formaldehyde such as:
- cleaning products
- textiles (e.g., permanent press fabrics)
- air fresheners
- pet care products
- bactericides and fungicides
Formaldehyde is also present in combustion processes, including tobacco and wood smoke and fuel-burning appliances such as gas stoves, kerosene space heaters, and fireplaces.
Formaldehyde is produced naturally in most living systems, including humans, as part of an oxidative metabolism. It is also produced during decay processes, as a byproduct of combustion, and during photochemical oxidation of hydrocarbons in the air (i.e., smog formation). These environmental sources result in outdoor concentrations of formaldehyde of a few ng/L in remote locations and up to approximately 20 ng/L (16 ppb) in urban locations.
Material Off Gas
Verify the source of your IAQ issues
Solving poor indoor air quality mysteries can be quite a task. There are many possible sources within our indoor environments contributing to the chemical makeup of the air we breathe. When there has been recent construction or a new process implemented we can usually gain a better handle on what is causing the IAQ issue. How can you be sure that you have narrowed down the culprit?
Material off gas analysis can help determine which product is creating the concerning VOC’s we find in the air. Chemical specific and full spectrum analyses are available. VioClean can analyze both solid and semi-solid materials; such as flooring, carpet, insulation, clothing, furniture, bedding/mattresses, etc. This valuable data can then be cross referenced with the VOC air analysis to determine if the chemical signatures or fingerprints are the same.
Providing detailed analysis of the air and material source will allow the cleanup/containment work to begin.
For assistance with planning your upcoming project or to learn more about Bulk Material Off Gassing, contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-705-7914. There are so many things in homes with the potential to emit chemicals. One of the largest contributors is building materials in new or recently renovated homes. These materials can include:
- paints, stains, and finishes
- engineered woods
- glues, adhesives, caulks, contact cement
- roofing products
In addition to the building materials are the contents of the home, which can include furnishings, fabrics (clothing, linens, draperies, etc.), plastics, rubber, and many other items.