Very Fine Particles and IAQ Health

Fine Particles and lungsWe all know the basics of respiration.  We know about the hose and nose hair that filters the air we breathe.  We know about the bronchia or throat that carries the air to the lungs.  And we know a little bit about the lungs.  

The startling fact is that there is an amazing connection to the bloodstream within the lungs.  The lungs collect oxygen from the air to oxygenate the body.  We take in O2 from the air and breathe out CO2 (carbon dioxide) which the threes and plants take in and keep the carbon to release more O2.  It is the great master plan for a livable atmosphere for all living things.

That is the good part.  The lungs are an immediate and powerful way to get oxygen into the blood, but there is a downside.  Inhaling is another way to quickly get other things into the blood as well.  We know about asthma inhalers that deliver medication to relieve an asthma attack.

As you can see from the chart, many particles do not have easy access to the lungs or the bloodstream.  PM 10 are the size of dust, dirt, and pollen.  These are mostly filtered by the nose.  PM 2.5 is the range of mold spores and can trigger reactions in people.

PM1 is considered very fine particles that not only enter the lungs but are able to easily enter the bloodstream.  This is yet another reason that the indoor air quality is part of the IAQ evaluation.  We can raise a great deal of concern over the VOCs. toxins, and pollutants in the indoor air, but the particles are another area of health concern.

If certain types of mold are in the building, it will produce mold spores, which is a health issue.  Some mold types will produce mycotoxins, which are as seen in the work, a toxin.  The very bad news is that mycotoxins are in the very fine category and will pass into the bloodstream.  The health threats for mycotoxins are high and immediate.

This is why the IAQ investigation needs a particle meter test as badly as anything other types of test.