Indoor Air Quality

Several factors can affect the indoor air quality (IAQ) in a building. Most often, poor IAQ is caused by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in cleaning, maintenance, or personal products, from vehicle exhaust that becomes entrained in the air intake, or a lack of adequate air flow to the office space. Sometimes, indoor air quality is impacted by mold and fungal growth, but this is uncommon at UAF. IAQ problems are hard to track down due to the variety of potential sources and the variation associated with their occurrence on a day-to-day basis.

How EHSRM can help

We have several instruments to monitor IAQ. Our instruments can measure or sample for:

  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Mold and Fungi
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Temperature
  • Airborne particles
  • Humidity
  • Asbestos
  • Volatile Organic Compounds

Unfortunately, there is no single instrument (the mythical “Magic Sniffer”) that can test the air and conclusively identify all contaminants. Identifying the source of an IAQ problem requires knowledge of the potential sources of contaminants and a way to test for them.

If you are experiencing discomfort from the air quality in your building contact EHSRM at 474-5413 and we'll conduct an evaluation, collect samples if necessary, and make recommendations based on the results.

 

Before you call…

To save yourself some time and perhaps some frustration, there are some things you can do to investigate poor IAQ conditions in your office.

  1. Plants can be a source of mold and fungi that may cause allergies. If there plants in your work area, experiment with moving one or more types out at a time and see if the reaction is less over the next few days.
  2. Some perfumes, lotions, deodorants, etc. can cause reactions in people who have greater sensitivity. Be cognizant of the people in your area and their sensitivities.
  3. If you have a refrigerator near or in your office, check it for outdated goods.
  4. Peek in a few garbage cans in case someone just threw away one of the outdated goods from the refrigerator.
  5. If all else fails, give us a call at 474-5413.
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