Particulate Pollution and IAQ

The majority of workplace concern is about toxic gases, know as VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).  And such concerns for a sick workplace environment are good reason to do testing and introduce proactive treatment.

There are various measurement that should be made to evaluate the workplace conditions.  The simple measurements are temperature and humidity, and we all know that both of these factors will affect the people in the building.

We can measure CO2 and the velocity of airflow to assure fresh air supply.  We may test for pathogens on surfaces or ATP testing to validate the cleaning process.

One of the important measurements to evaluate the indoor air quality is the particulates (particles) in the air.  Particulates are more than innocents dust flying about.  The complex mixture of particles that can cause more health concerns than just the need to blow your nose.

We know that pollen, mold spores, and other allergens are in the air.  We might find lead, ash, asbestos, pesticide and chemical residue.  There are also viruses and bacteria floating in the air.   While living microbes, they are in the air as well as on the surface.

Particulate testing is particularly helpful because the size of the particles can clue the experienced IAQ Specialist in on the kind of particles in the air.

Pollen, dust, and dirt are most often in the PM 10 range.   Mold spores are most often in the PM 2.5 range.  Particles, like mycotoxins are in the PM 1 range, and these particles are very concerning.  The very fine particles do more than collect in the nose or long.  Very fine particles can actually enter into the bloodstream when they enter the lungs.

All particles are troublesome, but the very fine particles are most concerning.  

Every business, manager, gym, school, day care, or workplace needs to conduct at least one indoor air quality test to assure than there are no latent but dangerous threats in the building.

As an alternative, have one of the maintenance team take the IAQ Specialist training and conduct annual testing.  In the vast number of cases, the solution is more simple than the problems from bad indoor air.