Due to our climate, we spend over 90 percent of our lives indoors. As a result, we are breathing in everything that is in our indoor air, including pollutants, allergens, VOCs, toxins–and even mold spores.
Breathing in these harmful contaminants over an extended period of time can have a significant impact on your families lives. Most issues can be easily solved upon determining the source of the situation.
Air Quality Canada Inc. is an environmental consulting firm with experienced professionals who perform Air Quality Assessments and testing services. Whether your concerns are residential, commercial or industrial, we are here to help – Your Safety is our business.
Major Sources of Poor Indoor Air Quality?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) identifies six
major sources of potential indoor air quality problems, including:
- 1. Humidity and Temperature – Indoor Air Quality issues may occur when humidity and temperatures range outside of acceptable relative humidity levels. Levels less than 35% in the winter and greater than 60% in the summer should be considered unacceptable. Elevated relative humidity can promote the growth of mold, bacteria, and dust mites, which can aggravate allergies and asthma.
- 2. Inadequate Ventilation – If too little outdoor air enters a home or building, pollutants can accumulate to dangerous levels of gas such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Carbon Dioxide Toxicity can have a serve negative impact on ones health.
- 3. Inside Contamination – Indoor air pollutants can be caused by Biological Pollutants (mold, bacteria, dust mites, animal dander, cockroach debris, rodent debris, carbon dioxide) and Chemical Pollutants (Copy machines, office products, tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, cleaning solvents, radon). Chemicals stored indoors have also been identified as significant sources of indoor air problems in some investigations.
- 4. Outside Contamination – This is caused by the re-entrainment of previously exhausted contaminants, generally caused by improper air intake placement or by periodic changes in wind conditions. A common problem is vehicle exhaust fumes from parking garages, or loading docks being drawn into a building ventilation system.
- 5. Microbial Contamination – This is mostly associated with water leaks; infiltration, elevated indoor humidity, humidifiers, and contaminated ventilation ductwork. It can lead to mold growth, bacteria and dust mites, aggravating allergies and asthma.
- 6. New Building Materials – This results from building materials (including carpeting, drapes, paints, plastics, etc) releasing gasses and other chemicals into the air during and shortly after the materials are first installed. Also known as ‘Chemical Off-Gassing’, vapours and gasses are released into the air during the process of aging, evaporating and decomposing, polluting indoor air quality. All of these materials off-gas potentially hazardous chemicals and odours called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
Humidity Problem Chart
Health Hazards of Poor Indoor Air Quality?
Possible Gases + Hazardous Airborne Contaminates Include:
- 1. Mold – There are dozens of Mold health symptoms including but not limited to: runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat, dry skin, recurring colds, dry mouth, nausea, flu symptoms, difficulty breathing, excessive sneezing, consistent coughing & phlegm build-up, constant headaches & migraines, sinus infection, asthma attack, memory loss, bleeding lungs, death.
- 2. CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) – If less oxygen is available to breathe, symptoms such as rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, clumsiness, emotional upsets and fatigue can result. As less oxygen becomes available, nausea and vomiting, collapse, convulsions, coma and death can occur. Symptoms occur more quickly with physical effort. Lack of oxygen can cause permanent damage to organs including the brain and heart.
- 3. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) – Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness.
- 4. CO (Carbon Monoxide) – Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odourless, colourless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death. Unless suspected, CO poisoningcan be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.
- 5. Dust Mites – Mites are one of the major indoor triggers for people with allergies and asthma. Dust mite exposure can even cause asthma. Chronic, ongoing exposure to dust mites at home can dramatically impact the health of people with asthma and those who are allergic or particularly sensitive to mites. These allergens cause an immune system response, known as allergic rhinitis.
- 6. Allergens – Highly dependent on the type of allergens. Often include sore throat, fatigue, prolonged couches, runny nose and other typical “allergy symptoms”.
- 7. Odour – Unpleasant Odours are typically not a health hazard. However they may interfere with Quality of life due to the lingering smell.
- 8. Radon – Over 25,000 people die in North America as a result of Radon each year. Significant concentration of Radon is equivalent to smoking 1.5 packs of cigarettes per day. Health Canada reported that “16% of lung cancers deaths in Canada are attributable to radon exposure.”
What our IAQ Assessment Includes?
Our IAQ Assessment typically includes analysis of the following contaminates:
Computer Readings for:
- Carbon Monoxide (CO)
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
- Relative Humidity
- Dew Point
- VOC Presence Analysis
- Dust Particle Analysis
- Moisture Meter Survey
- Thermal Imaging of Wall + Ceiling
- Mold Air Sampling
- Complete Report outing your Air Quality issues with detailed recommendations.
Liability – Protect yourself and your employee’s and/or Tenant’s
Amendments to the Criminal Code set out in Bill C-45 (Health & Safety Negligence) came into effect March 31, 2004. These amendments mean dramatic new duties, new risks of investigation and prosecution and the possibility of workplace-based criminal liability for corporate organizations as well as individuals. In short, any employer could be held criminally liable for not providing and employee a safe work environment. Poor indoor air quality or environmental pollution which causes harm to an employee can result in civil as well as criminal prosecution under Bill C-45.
Not providing, ensuring and investigating the status of indoor air quality in a workplace can result in criminal charges against the directors of a corporation, organization as well as sole proprietors and individuals.
“Not investigating air quality complaints by employees are now considered ‘negligence’ and will expose the employer to be liable.”
Reduce your personal and corporate liability by having regular indoor air quality testing performed in your work environment. Regularly investigating and managing the indoor environment will reduce the possibility of being found negligent and thereby reduce your liability. For more information regarding Bill C-45, visit:
Do You Do Your Own Laboratory Analysis?
We do not. In order to offer an ethical service our clients can trust, we work with a third-party, local A2LA accredited Laboratory. This allows the results to be defensible in court. It is strongly suggested that you work with a environmental consulting company who does not perform in- house lab work.
Why Choose Air Quality Canada?
Same Day Response
Available 7 Days a Week
We use State of the Art Equipment
We work with Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Clients
Certified Technicians with Extensive Training and Skills
We use an A2LA accredited, Third Party Laboratory