The Healthy Abode Inc. offers specialised services geared towards solving difficult odour and health issues that can be a result of indoor air. One useful air testing method is open-characterization, commonly referred to as VOC or Volatile Organic Compound Testing.
The Issue & Potential Sources
Indoor air quality (IAQ) has increasingly become a significant and complex issue due to various factors including increases in certain indoor pollutants and the more recent design of energy efficient buildings which reduce the amount of fresh air drawn into the building. Many airborne organics exist in indoor environments due to building materials, consumer products, personal activities, cigarette smoking, mold growth and poorly vented heating appliances etc. In working environments, the sources can be extensively more diverse and complex. Complaints of odours, headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, as well as other health problems are common and widespread, which subsequently have impacts on the productivity and quality of life.
An excellent example of VOCs are the "new car" smell most of us are fond of. The odour, not surprisingly, comprises a great variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), arising from adhesives, plastics, carpets, cleaners, polishes, lubricants, paints, leather and vinyl treatment. Currently, there is no government standard regulating air quality inside new vehicles. Although the VOC concentrations are not very high in new vehicles, the cumulative effects of these compounds can pose health problems to those with chemical sensitivity and with long term exposure especially in summer months when the heat vaporizes more VOCs into the closed car interior. Some of the most common VOCs identified in a new car with leather interior include ethanol, acetic acid, benzyl alcohol, propylene glycol and acetone.
With VOC testing (open-characterization) we have the ability to recognize the unusual patterns, odourous compounds, microbial (MVOC), VOCs from emission sources as well as the chemical reactions taking place. All of these findings are included in our comprehensive reports to allow for better understanding of the testing results.
Our Comprehensive VOC Analysis and Reports
Reports presented to the clients in 10 business days of sampling include identification of the top 35 compounds in order of descending concentrations, their semi-quantitative concentrations, as well as total volatile organic compound (TVOC) concentration. TVOC value is an important measure of total airborne organic concentration and over 200 compounds may be detected. The report also includes common sources, odour description and exposure limits.