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Who Should Have Their Indoor Air Tested And Why?

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

Do you feel sick a lot? Do you have irritating symptoms that can come and go? Have you noticed staff members or colleagues looking unwell or run down often? Are you getting symptoms that change depending on which environment you are in? Do you have a genuine interest in making the environment around you healthier?

If the answer is yes, to one or more of the above questions, it's highly recommended to look into why. If you feel sick at work, but the symptoms alleviate at home, or vice-versa, the source may be one of these environments. The quality of indoor air in a building is both measurable and controllable. Poor quality air can contribute to mold growth and be one of the causing factors of sick building syndrome.

At Clean Air, we understand the thought of having poor indoor air quality or mold in the workplace can be a worrying factor for many. We have been leading Environmental specialists in Bangkok for 14 years and specialize in improving a tropical climate, a predominant factor in Thailand. Our consultants are highly knowledgeable, and we take pride in educating the public in ways in which they can improve their health and well-being.

In this article, we will discuss:

  • What is Sick Building Syndrome?

  • What are the potential symptoms of sick building syndrome?

  • How an indoor air test is carried out

  • The short- and long-term health risks of the individual elements we test for

  • Potential solutions to indoor air pollution

What is sick building syndrome?

"Sick building syndrome" can be defined as a scenario where the occupants of a building are experiencing comfort or health issues that appear to be linked to the time spent inside. Often, doctors struggle to pinpoint a specific cause or illness, and these symptoms can be recorded as anonymous allergies.

So, what are the contributing factors to "Sick Building Syndrome"?

  • Poorly ventilated buildings

  • Overly high dust levels

  • Mold or fungus being present

  • Smoke

  • Asbestos

  • Formaldehyde

  • PM2.5 or PM10 particles

  • Dangerous Gases

As you can see, the majority of these factors are invisible to the naked eye. Being unaware of these hidden dangers that can cause illness makes both the diagnosis and cure more problematic. However, understanding the potential symptoms and testing buildings makes this possible.

What are the potential symptoms of sick building syndrome?

Each of the different contributing factors mentioned above can have slightly different symptoms. Understanding these could give one an idea of the problem, but these conditions overlap, making testing the ideal scenario.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms and couldn't pin down the root cause, it may be building-related.

How an indoor air test is carried out

Our air tests are carried out by trained professionals, using the latest expensive, hi-tech equipment. The tests are tailored to your environment, and the length of time taken depends on the number of rooms or surface area that needs to be analyzed. You can expect the tests to run for at least half a day.

Each piece of our equipment has its own purpose and tests for its own specific element by taking in periodic air samples to ensure consistency. We are looking for dangerous gases, pollutants, mold, lighting issues, airflow issues, temperature and humidity problems, plus much more. Remember 'There can be no measurements without any performed tests.

We use internationally recognized guidelines that are relative to the regional climates of our clients. Specifically, regulations from Hong Kong and Singapore as the climate is similar to Thailand. We are a British-run company that has membership with the US Green Building Council (USGBC), which allows us to carry out tests and accreditation for LEED.

Once we have tested your indoor environment, we will generate a detailed report presented to you. If issues are found, we will then locate the source of the issue. Once the root cause of the problem has been found, we can advise on a tailored solution for you. Once this has been implemented, we will retest the area to measure the difference in your new, healthier environment.

This next section explains individual tests in more detail and their health implications.

The short- and long-term health risks of the individual elements we test for

Here is a breakdown of what we test for, with some illustrations outlining each element's sources and potential health implications.

1) TVOC's (Total Volatile Organic Compounds)

The term TVOC's refers to organic carbon-containing gasses that can be found indoors at room temperature.

2) Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a simple, naturally occurring organic compound made of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. All life forms produce Formaldehyde, but in large quantities, it can have negative health implications.

3) PM2.5 & PM10

These are the much talked about tiny particles in the] air that we breathe. As residents of Thailand, most of us are aware of PM2.5 and when the levels are high.

4) Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless, flammable gas that is slightly less dense than air.

5) Ozone

Ozone, or trioxygen, is an inorganic molecule with the chemical formula O ₃. It is a pale blue gas with a distinctively pungent smell.

6) Relative Humidity

Relative Humidity is a term used to tell us how much water vapor is in the air compared to how much it could hold at that temperature.

7) Temperature

We all know what temperature means and how different levels of cold or heat can affect our bodies.

8) Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is a colorless gas with its density around 53% higher than that of dry air. It occurs naturally.

9) Microbial Growth

Microbial Growth is a family of fungi that is often referred to as mildew or mold.

Potential solutions to indoor air pollution

As scary as the issues we have discussed here may sound, these are all problems that, when identified, can be resolved. Sometimes the resolution can be as simple as purchasing a good quality air purifier. It could be down to maintenance or design or an air conditioning system. Often, we tweak systems that result in not only environmental improvements but cost savings on power consumption!

More complex scenarios may involve more time, planning, and investment, such as using UVC lighting or ozone generators to eradicate issues. Our consultants are highly experienced in this and have worked globally for big corporations resolving indoor air issues.

We are always happy to give a free phone consultation to anyone, so if you have questions or concerns, fill in the form on our homepage, and we will contact you.


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