Commercial Air Quality Testing
Exposure to indoor airborne contaminants is one of the leading environmental health hazards that employees face in the workplace. Contaminants can be generated in the indoor environment and are spread throughout a commercial or public building through the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Outdoor contaminants can also be brought in through the HVAC system. This process results in widespread exposure to tens, hundreds or even thousands of individuals. The effects of poor indoor air quality include a general feeling of illness or malaise all the way up to debilitating effects that result in time missed from work and the need for ongoing medical care.
Indoor Air Quality in Commercial Buildings
The quality of indoor air is of importance in commercial buildings because it affects the health of anyone who spends any time within the structure. The employees of a business or occupants of a residential building could experience serious health effects if exposed to the mycotoxins released by mold and mold spores. Because most American citizens spend the vast majority of their time indoors, the amount of exposure can be significant. In some cases, the indoor air quality of a building can actually be worse than the outdoor air, even in urban environments.
Indoor air pollution can result in increased illness, including worsening of existing asthma and allergies, development of migraines and respiratory and skin problems. Even a seemingly well run building can have problems with its indoor air quality. Removing indoor air pollutants such as fungal growth can improve the quality of the air, reduce the risk of illness and result in monetary savings due to lower insurance premiums and less damage to interior structures.
The growth of fungi is a problem for the indoor air quality in many buildings. All it takes is one small leak or some condensation around a window and there is a moisture supply. Mold spores are ubiquitous in the environment and once there is a moisture source and some organic material to feed upon, the fungi can thrive. In an ideal environment, the microorganisms can release hundreds or even thousands of spores on a daily basis. The spores float through the air, looking for a new home, thus repeating the cycle. It is the airborne spores that impact air quality and human health.
If you suspect a mold problem, the first action to take is fungal testing. There are several types of mold testing that can be performed in commercial buildings. These include fungal air testing and fungal tape testing.
About Air Testing for Fungal Growth
The step by step procedure for air testing for the growth of fungi includes:
- Assessing involved areas of the building
- Taking one sample of outdoor air as a control
- Collecting an air sample from each area suspected for mold growth
- Analysis of control versus test samples
- Interpretation and report of mold growth in the building
About Tape Testing for Fungal Growth
The procedures for tape testing for fungal growth include:
- Assessing suspected locations
- Collection of samples from each area
- Laboratory analysis of samples
- Production of analytic report of mold growth
A visual mold inspection by a trained fungus expert includes looking for fungal growth as well as moisture sources. Because mold is everywhere, the report created after the inspection of your building will detail whether the amount of mold found during the inspection and from the samples is within the normal range for interior environments. The final report will include:
- Action steps for your business to take
- Determination of the fungal source within the building
- Analysis of collected samples as needed
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