indoor air-quality

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    JUDY MURPHYIndustrial Hygienist

    Montana Department of LaborOccupational Safety and Health Bureau

  • IntroducingPlease tell usYour nameWhere you workWhat you doYour indoor air quality experience & concerns

  • Is IAQ Important?30% of newly constructed or remodeled facilities have IAQ problems

    Indoor contaminants are responsible for half of all illnesses

    Liability issues

  • LiabilityOwners and managersArchitects, builders and developersProduct manufacturersInsurersUnionsReal estate agents, bankers and sellers

  • Why is There an Increase in IAQ problems?More time indoors

    More chemical pollutants in buildings

    Tighter buildings and reduced ventilation

    Deferred maintenance

  • Common Health Effects of Indoor ContaminantsEye, nose and throat irritationCoughing and sneezingHeadachesFatigueIrritabilityAllergies, sinus congestionDizzinessDifficulty in concentrating

  • Health Effects Depend on Several FactorsThe contaminantThe amount of the contaminant presentThe length of time a person is exposed to the contaminantThe vulnerability of the person

  • Sick Building SyndromeSymptoms include eye, nose and throat irritation, headache, allergies, fatigue20% or more of occupants experience same symptoms No medically diagnosable symptomsComplaints persist for more than two weeksSymptoms often lessen after person leaves building

  • Building-Related IllnessClinically defined illness or diseaseE.g. Asthma, Legionaires Disease, Hypersensitivity PneumonitisSymptoms depend on the disease

  • QUIZWhat are some of the most common IAQ health effects?What four factors determine the health effects of an exposure to hazardous compounds?

  • Regulations and StandardsOutdoor airborne contaminant levelsEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)Indoor airborne contaminant levels in the workplace Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)ASHRAE Standards 62-1989, 62-2001, 62-2004, 62.1-2007

  • ASHRAE Ventilation StandardsASHRAE 62-1989 Objective of ventilation is satisfaction of 80% of inhabitants

  • OSHA Permissible Exposure Levels (PELs)Time-weighted average concentrations that must not be exceeded during any 8-hour workshift of a 40-hour workweekLegally enforceableMeasured in parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3)

  • Threshold Limit Values (TLVs)Time-weighted average concentration for a conventional 8-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek, to which it is believed that nearly all workers can be repeatedly exposed, day after day, without adverse effect


    Generally more conservative than PELs

  • Problem - Causing CompoundsChemicalsCombustion productsRespirable particles and gasesBiological aerosols


  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)Carbon-containing compounds that evaporate rapidlyExamplesBenzeneTolueneStyrenePerchloroethylenePesticides

  • Volatile Organic Compounds(Sources)Paints, stains, varnishesWaxesPolishesSolventsPesticidesAdhesivesWood preservativesCleansers

    LubricantsAir freshenersFuelsPlasticsCopy machines, printersTobacco products PerfumesDry cleaned clothing

  • PESTICIDES - SymptomsHeadacheDizzinessLack of coordinationNervousnessIrritabilityInsomniaConfusionLoss of concentrationSpeech difficultiesDepressionImpaired judgmentMemory deficitsVisual disturbancesECG changesWeaknessFatigueParalysis

  • Integrated Pest ManagementIPM StepsSet action thresholdsMonitor and identify pestsPreventionControl

  • FormaldehydeUsed in plywood, paneling, particleboard, wallboard, fiberglass, adhesivesSometimes in ceiling tiles, wallpaper, furniture, draperies, clothingEven low levels can cause difficulties in breathing, burning of eyes nose and throat, coughing; a human carcinogenPEL 0.75 ppm; TLV ceiling limit 0.3 ppm

  • PerchloroethyleneSolvent used in dry cleaning, metal cleaning and degreasingCan cause irritation of eyes, nose, throat and skin, liver and kidney damage, CNS depressionConsidered an animal carcinogen and probable human carcinogenPEL 100 ppm; TLV 25 ppm

  • Perchloroethylene MSDS Exercise

  • QUIZWhat are VOCs?What are some sources of VOCsWhat are some alternatives to pesticides?


  • Combustion ProductsCarbon monoxide (CO)Oxides of nitrogen (NOx)Oxides of sulfur (SOx)Carbon dioxide (CO2)Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)Tobacco Smoke components

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO)Colorless, odorless, tasteless poisonous gasProduced as a by-product of combustionDeprives the body of oxygen by binding to blood hemoglobin and displacing oxygen molecules

  • Carbon MonoxideSymptoms are headache, dizziness, drowsiness and nauseaSevere exposure results in vomiting, collapse, coma and deathPEL 50 ppm; TLV 25 ppmBody systems most affected are the brain, the heart, and the developing fetus

  • Carbon MonoxideLow levels of exposure - more frequent attacks of angina, reduced athletic performance, heart attacksModerate exposures - loss of attentiveness, decreased visual perception, manual dexterity, learning ability and driving abilitySmoking cause of the greatest human exposure

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)Colorless, odorless, tasteless gas at room temperaturePresent in exhaled human breathCombustion by-productNaturally present in an unpolluted environment at about 300 ppm

  • Carbon DioxideCO2 levels above 800 ppm may indicate inadequate ventilationASHRAE recommended indoor air quality limit for CO2 is 1000 ppmPEL 5000 ppm; TLV 5000 ppm

  • Tobacco SmokeRespirable particles and gases, including benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and VOCs

    Sidestream smoke from cigarette contains higher concentrations of some toxic and carcinogenic substances than mainstream smoke inhaled by smoker

  • Tobacco SmokeCauses lung cancer in nonsmokers as well as smokers Increased respiratory infections in childrenIrritation of upper respiratory tract, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, headache, sinus problems, asthma, increased cardiovascular risk

  • QUIZWhich combustion by-products would you expect to see in smog?Which compound is sometimes used as a measure of ventilation efficiency?


  • Respirable Particles & GasesAsbestosFiberglassSilicaMetal dustTobacco smoke componentsOrganic dustPollenMold sporesPaper dustRadon

  • AsbestosGroup of indestructable highly fibrous mineralsSeparated fibers are long, thin, flexible, heat resistant, able to be spun and wovenHealth effects: lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural plaquesAirborne concentration in homes and schools 30 to 6,000 fibers/m3PEL 0.1 fiber/cc; TLV 0.1 fiber/cc

  • LeadIndestructable, non-biodegradable, adaptable metalRomans used lead to line aqueducts, as mortar, in plumbing and to sweeten wineWas used in gasoline, batteries, paints, ceramic glazes, ammunition, fishing sinkers, metal toys

  • LeadThree quarters of the nations housing contains lead-based paint

    Children are at greater risk for lead poisoning than adultsHand to mouth activityDeveloping body systems more easily affectedAction level is 10 micrograms per deciliter (g/dl)

  • Lead Chronic Exposure Health EffectsLoss of appetiteMetallic taste in mouthAnxietyConstipationNauseaPalorExcessive tirednessWeaknessInsomniaHeadacheNervous irritabilityMuscle and joint pain or sorenessFine tremorsNumbnessDizzinessHyperactivityColic, with severe abdominal pain

  • Chronic Effects of Lead Poisoning in ChildrenFetal development abnormalitiesDecreased intelligence

    Slowed neurological developmentReading and learning problems

    Reduced attention span

  • Chronic Effects of Lead Poisoning in Children (cont.)Hearing loss

    Behavioral problems such as hyperactivity

    Stunted growth

    Permanent damage to the brain, nervous system and kidneys

  • Sources of Potential Exposure to LeadLead-based paintLead-contaminated dustLead-contaminated soilCandle wicksPewter and silver productsLead crystalSome lead-glazed pottery and porcelainSome imported mini-blinds

  • RadonNaturally occurring radioactive gasColorless, odorless, tastelessCauses no symptoms of irritation or discomfortNo early signs of exposureTesting a building is the only way to evaluate exposureAction level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L)

  • Radon Health EffectsDamage by alpha radiation to tissue of lungs and respiratory tract20,000 lung cancer deaths per yearNon-smokers risk of lung cancer at 4 pCi/L is 2 in 1000Smokers risk of lung cancer at 4 pCi/L is 20 in 1000

  • Testing for RadonTest in lowest livable area in buildingClose all doors and windows 12 hours before testingDo not test in kitchen or bathroomPlace monitor at least 20 inches above floorTest during coldest months of the year

  • Radon Control MeasuresIncreasing the ventilation in the building

    Sealing the foundation

    Sub-slab depressurization

  • Sub-Slab Depressurization

  • QUIZWhat are some of the health effects of lead exposure?How can you tell if a building has elevated radon levels?


  • BioaerosolsSubstances that are living or were released from a living organism

    ExamplesBacteriaFungiPollenVirusesDust mites

  • Dust Mites

  • Dust MitesMicroscopic relatives of spiders

    Feed on dead skin scales and other organic debris

    2,000,000 in an average bed

    Dust mite feces - a common allergen

    Prefer relative humidi