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Oct 04
air pollution in the office

Air Pollution In The Office – What You Need To Know

What is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Testing? 

IAQ testing measures the levels of pollutants in the air and assesses them against the standards that The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has in place. Alpha Environmental Services, Inc. retains the tools, equipment, and expertise to perform residential and commercial testing in order to help our clients maintain clean indoor air quality.

How Often Should Indoor Air Quality Testing Be Done In A Commercial Setting?

While there isn’t a set number of times per year your office’s air quality is required to be tested, it’s important to take any and all air quality concerns seriously. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), signs of poor IAQ include unpleasant or musty odors and/or a hot and stuffy workplace. Other workers experience

symptoms that happen at work and go away when they leave the office—such as headaches, coughing, shortness of breath, or feeling tired. Asthma and some causes of pneumonia are also signs of poor IAQ. However, not all exposure to poor IAQ results in symptoms.

Why is IAQ Testing important? 

IAQ testing is a necessary part of maintaining a healthy work environment. It is used by professionals to analyze the current environment, evaluate locations and extent of possible source areas for indoor air problems, investigate possible hidden contamination sources, physically collect and analyze air and surface samples to identify contaminants, look into the cause of any water damage or moisture problems, take a look at air ducts or other air handling equipment for contamination or malfunction, and measure ambient air quality parameters such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and humidity. The result is a detailed written report of each hazard and next steps on how to improve your air quality.

What do IAQ professionals test for?

As a standard part of IAQ testing, professionals look for many possible sources of chemicals and contaminants in the air.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Particulates
  • Asthma triggers
  • Mold and Mildew
  • Formaldehyde
  • Office machine off-gassing
  • Allergens
  • Airborne asbestos
  • Chemicals, solvents & resins

Side Effects of Poor Air Quality

If poor air quality goes untested and untreated, serious side effects are likely to follow. Possible side effects include allergies; skin irritation; shortness of breath; coughing; sneezing; itchy; watery eyes; allergies; asthma; headaches; nausea; dizziness; hyperactivity; difficulty concentrating; short-term memory loss; and even death.

commercial indoor air quality testing
Matthew Micheletty

About The Author

Matthew has been Alpha's Director of Operations for over four years. He works directly with our clients in effort to provide exceptional customer service as well as managing the day to day of the company. When he's not at the office, you can find him at Red Tail Golf Club or cruising PDX in one of his project cars.