Environmental monitoring and indoor air quality

It is common in new or refurbished buildings to have elevated levels of formaldehyde. Some of the potential sources are particle boards, pressed wood products, urea formaldehyde insulation, new furniture and fabrics. The related health effects are respiratory, eye and skin irritations, headaches and nausea. Formaldehyde is also a suspected carcinogen. Apart from indoor air pollutants there are many other aspects that impact on the quality of the indoor air environment. These may include HVAC system operation and maintenance.

Initial inspections of the indoor environment may lead the IAQ professional to the environmental sampling of a number of parameters whether they be gaseous contaminants such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds, particles (viable and non-viable) such as bacteria, fungi, ctinomycetes and dust.

The information gathered can then be used to assess occupant health complaints, identifying sources and recommending appropriate controls where necessary.

Apart from a response to health complaints among occupants, building owners and managers are requesting these services as part of their Quality Assurance procedures. Tenants appreciate that the building air quality is undergoing periodic review and evaluation and it allows building owners and managers to keep a record of results for future reference.

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