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Indoor air quality is a measure of the cleanliness of the air in your home. By testing your home’s indoor air quality, we can determine what chemicals, allergens and biological contaminants are inside your home, polluting the air and potentially making you and your family sick. Healthy Home offers testing to Oregon and SW Washington area customers that helps determine how air quality could be affecting your home or loved ones. Environmental elements are major causes of many chronic ailments and we feel that air quality issues can be the issue that is most difficult to detect by health care providers.
When people think about air pollution, they usually picture vehicle exhaust or factory emissions. But the air in your home can be up to three times more polluted than the air outside. Sometimes, people can smell something is off. The home’s air is stuffy, stale or musty. Sometimes, people can see the problem, such as when mold is growing on a wall or ceiling.Other times, people suffer a range of health issues such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and flu-like symptoms but are at a loss to explain why they feel so badly. They are simply desperate to make their symptoms stop. These people may be suffering from “sick building syndrome” caused by poor indoor air quality. They may suspect but haven’t been able to confirm that their home is making them sick.
Adverse health conditions caused by poor indoor air quality range from mild discomfort such as symptoms associated with the common cold to major illnesses such as cancer or respiratory disease. Symptoms may show up quickly or many years after exposure. Symptoms may come and go or steadily worsen. The most dangerous indoor air contaminants can cause lifelong diseases and even death.
Indoor air quality testing by Healthy Home can detect over 100 indoor air pollutants. We can guide you toward recovering healthy indoor air quality in your home and empower you with the knowledge to regain your and your family’s health.
Biological pollutants, allergens and chemicals are in the air surrounding us all the time. An abnormal increase in any one or more of them can be a cause for concern.
The presence or overgrowth of biological pollutants and allergens can aggravate indoor air quality. These types of indoor air pollutants include:
People may develop cancer from exposure to radon gas, an invisible, tasteless, odorless, naturally-occurring chemical that is commonly found throughout the U.S. and seeps indoors from under the house. People may suffer poisoning or death from carbon monoxide buildup, another silent killer.
The widespread use of organic chemicals as ingredients in household products are sources of many potential chemical indoor air pollutants. The EPA includes paints, varnishes, waxes and many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products contain organic solvents as common items that can release harmful organic compounds into your home’s air. An indoor air quality test we perform measures the presence of over 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, styrene and other solvents that may be polluting your home.
Contrary to popular belief, asbestos is still found in many building materials today. Asbestos fibers are harmful when inhaled and can cause debilitating and fatal lung diseases. The use of asbestos in certain products has been banned for decades, but many people don’t realize there are still asbestos-containing products that are not banned from use, including:
Indoor air quality inspection and testing may point to potential asbestos exposure in your home.
Lead enters the body primarily through ingestion, such as drinking contaminated water or the accidental ingestion of degraded lead-containing paint/dust. It may also be airborne, causing serious side effects when inhaled. Possible sources of airborne lead exposure include:
Indoor air quality testing and inspection can reveal issues with lead exposure and determine the need for further testing of your home.
“The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality” by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is a valuable resource for IAQ questions. Their list of indoor air pollutant sources commonly found inside homes include:
At certain levels, some air pollution is normal and to be expected. But issues such as poor ventilation, high humidity, malfunctioning appliances, and lack of maintenance can increase the concentration of indoor air pollution to dangerous levels.
People react in different ways to various pollutants. One person may not be affected at all while someone in the same home suffers debilitating symptoms.
Factors that affect a person’s reactions to poor indoor air quality issues include:
A closer look at some of the most common indoor air pollutants and dangerous levels of exposure includes:
|Pollutant||Source of Pollutant||Danger Level||Symptoms of Exposure|
|Carbon dioxide (CO2)||Potted plants and their soil, human breathing, and stoves or space heaters fuled by kerosene, propane, or methane||Long-term exposure to concentrations of carbon dioxide greater than 5,000 ppm is not recommended||Drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, and shortness of breath|
|Carbon monoxide (CO)||Stoves or space heaters fueled by kerosene or natural gas; cigarette smoke; poorly vented emissions from automobiles in garages||Exposure to carbon monoxide concentrations greater than 9 ppm should be avoided, as should shorter-term (about one-hour) exposures greater than 35 ppm||Headaches, drowsiness, nausea, fatigue, impaired judgment, and other symptoms of insufficient oxygen supply. Anoxia and death can be the ultimate result|
|Formaldehyde||Many diverse sources including poorly sealed plywood and particle boards, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, and many fabrics, carpets, glues, and copy papers||In general, exposure to formaldehyde should be less than 0.1 ppm||Dry or sore throat, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and stinging sensations in the eyes|
|Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
The most common VOCs are:
Acetone, butyl acetate, dichloro-benzene, dichloromethane, hexane, octane, toluene, trichloroethane, and xylene
|Many diverse sources including synthetic materials used to manufacture carpets and fabrics, paints, solvents, adhesives, cleaning solutions, perfumes, hair sprays, and cigarette smoke||All of the common VOCs and many others have recommended indoor-exposure limits, which vary depending on the toxicity of the particular chemical and the length of exposure||Dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, tightness of the chest, numbness or tingling of the extremities, and skin and eye irritation|
|Particulates||Smoke, physical-chemical deterioration of the ducts, insulating materials, walls, ceiling tiles, and paints, fibers from clothing and other fabrics, and many other sources||Unnecessary exposure should generally be avoided||Irritations of the upper respiratory tract, such as asthma|
|Radon||A radioactive gas emitted by a wide range of geological sources, including mineral-containing building materials and groundwater||Any exposure carries risk||Human toxicity through the development of cancers, especially lung cancer|
Source of Pollutant – Potted plants and their soil, human breathing, and stoves or space heaters fueled by kerosene, propane, or methane
Danger Level – Long-term exposure to concentrations of carbon dioxide greater than 5,000 ppm is not recommended
Symptons of Exposure – Drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, and shortness of breath
Source of Pollutant – Stoves or space heaters fueled by kerosene or natural gas; cigarette smoke; poorly vented emissions from automobiles in garages
Danger Level – Exposure to carbon monoxide concentrations greater than 9 ppm should be avoided, as should shorter-term (about one-hour) exposures greater than 35 ppm
Symptoms of Exposure – Headaches, drowsiness, nausea, fatigue, impaired judgment, and other symptoms of insufficient oxygen supply. Anoxia and death can be the ultimate result
Source of Pollutant – Many diverse sources including poorly sealed plywood and particle boards, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, and many fabrics, carpets, glues, and copy papers
Danger Level – In general, exposure to formaldehyde should be less than 0.1 ppm
Symptoms of Exposure – Dry or sore throat, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and stinging sensations in the eyes
Source of Pollutant – Many diverse sources including synthetic materials used to manufacture carpets and fabrics, paints, solvents, adhesives, cleaning solutions, perfumes, hair sprays, and cigarette smoke
Danger Level – All of the common VOCs and many others have recommended indoor-exposure limits, which vary depending on the toxicity of the particular chemical and the length of exposure
Symptoms of Exposure – Dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, tightness of the chest, numbness or tingling of the extremities, and skin and eye irritation
Source of Pollutant – Smoke, physical-chemical deterioration of the ducts, insulating materials, walls, ceiling tiles, and paints, fibers from clothing and other fabrics, and many other sources
Danger Level – Unnecessary exposure should generally be avoided
Symptoms of Exposure – Irritations of the upper respiratory tract, such as asthma
Source of Pollutant – A radioactive gas emitted by a wide range of geological sources, including mineral-containing building materials and groundwater
Danger Level – Any exposure carries risk
Symptoms of Exposure – Human toxicity through the development of cancers, especially lung cancer
Many homes have more than one source of indoor air pollution. Think of indoor air quality inspection and testing as casting a wide safety net over your house. We can detect multiple sources of air contamination inside the single net of IAQ testing. We analyze IAQ test results to determine all the potential pollution sources lowering your home’s indoor air quality. We can then determine if further testing is needed and work with you to develop individualized mitigation solutions.
Poor air quality causes symptoms that include upper respiratory irritation, burning eyes or sinuses, frequent illnesses and headaches. IAQ testing is appropriate when you suffer any of these symptoms but are unable to find relief through proper medical care, especially if you:
Our professionals are experienced in conducting IAQ investigations ranging from simple odor complaints to complex chemical exposures from moisture-related chemical decomposition. We are adept at identifying the source of the problem quickly and making quality recommendations for corrective actions to improve the air in your home.
A limited IAQ inspection includes a visual inspection of your home while collecting data about the basic comfort indices to develop a baseline for air quality. These indices include temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. This data collection is important because the readings can be useful in quickly narrowing down problem areas.
They may also point to additional specific sampling for other indoor air quality concerns.
Follow-up sampling is sometimes deemed necessary if the basic data doesn’t indicate any obvious IAQ concerns.
Examples of follow-up sampling include:
Let the pros at Healthy Home ensure you and your family breathe clean, fresh air. We understand you are concerned for the safety and well-being of your family. We provide prompt, courteous service and fast results.