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Indoor Air Quality Testing

It has been a long time desire of Fresh Air to test and verify what is in the air we are breathing some 20,000 times every day. Since it is not cost effective to test for everything, nor would it be practical, we have decided to buy equipment that can test some of the most common air pollution suspects.

Basic residential testing starts at $350
Includes: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, living room, kitchen, basement
Each room will get tested for 4 1/2 minutes for each of the following:
CO, CO2, TVOC's (Total Volatile Organic Compounds), 6 different size range of particles, temperature and relative humidity
A report will be generated showing levels averaged over the time in each room with detailed explanation of the potential issues above certain levels.

Formaldehyde testing takes 30 minutes per area and can be added at $40 per room.
Travel time over 30 miles is added at $68 per hour.

Customers who either have installed or decide to install a ventilation system will receive a $150 credit for the testing.

Commercial testing is available and based on facility size.

AdvancedSense IAQ Displays
Simultaneous measurement of up to six (6) key IAQ indicators 
  • VOCs, WolfSense PC Reporting Software
  • Formaldehyde
  • CO2 - Carbon Dioxide
  • CO - monoxide
  • % Relative Humidity
  • Particle concentration - 6 different micron size ranges: 
.3 - .5
.5 - 1.0
1.0 - 2.5
  2.5 - 5.0
  5.0 - 10

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emanate from a broad range of sources in industrial and general indoor air quality (IAQ) applications. (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: cosmetics,
 scented candles, paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning &
supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions. 
Fuels are made up of organic chemicals.

Health Effects
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.

FormaldehydeSources of formaldehyde in the home include building materials, smoking, household products, and the use of un-vented, fuel-burning appliances, like gas stoves or kerosene space heaters. Formaldehyde, by itself or in combination with other chemicals, serves a number of purposes in manufactured products. For example, it is used to add permanent-press qualities to clothing and draperies, as a component of glues and adhesives, and as a preservative in some paints and coating products. In homes, the most significant sources of formaldehyde are likely to be pressed wood products made using adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins. Pressed wood products made for indoor use include: particleboard (used as sub-flooring and shelving and in cabinetry and furniture); hardwood plywood paneling (used for decorative wall covering and used in cabinets and furniture); and medium density fiberboard (used for drawer fronts, cabinets, and furniture tops). Medium density fiberboard contains a higher resin-to-wood ratio than any other UF pressed wood product and is generally recognized as being the highest formaldehyde-emitting pressed wood product.

Health Effects
Formaldehyde, a colorless, pungent-smelling gas, can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes and throat, nausea, and difficulty in breathing in some humans exposed at elevated levels (above 0.1 parts per million). High concentrations may trigger attacks in people with asthma. There is evidence that some people can develop a sensitivity to formaldehyde. It has also been shown to cause cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.
Health Effects Associated with Carbon Monoxide
At low concentrations, fatigue in healthy people and chest pain in people with heart disease. At higher concentrations, impaired vision and coordination; headaches; dizziness; confusion; nausea. Can cause flu-like symptoms that clear up after leaving home. Fatal at very high concentrations. Acute effects are due to the formation of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood, which inhibits oxygen intake. At moderate concentrations, angina, impaired vision, and reduced brain function may result. At higher concentrations, CO exposure can be fatal.

Particulate Matter (PM) Research

Graphic of PM2.5Although it can be categorized in a number of ways, PM has traditionally been classified by size. In general, the smaller the particle, the stronger its potential impact on human health because it can be more easily inhaled. For this reason, EPA monitors and regulates particles in two size categories depending on their predicted penetration into the lung. These categories are:
Coarse particles (PM10)
Inhalable particles less than 10 micrometers (μm) in diameter used as a nominal surrogate for particles between 2.5 and 10μm in diameter; found near roadways and dusty industries
Fine particles (PM2.5)
Inhalable particles less than 2.5μm in diameter; generally found in smoke and haze, emitted from natural sources like forest fires and industrial combustion sources, or formed when gases react in the air. 
Ultrafine particles (PM0.1) are a subset of inhalable PM2.5 particles less than 0.1μm in diameter. They are not specifically regulated but have a strong link to combustion and therefore are garnering special attention.

Health Effects

Inhalable particles, particularly fine particles, have the greatest demonstrated impact on human health. Their small size allows them to get deep into the lungs and from there they can reach or trigger inflammation in the lung, blood vessels or the heart, and perhaps other organs. Studies have linked PM exposure to health problems such as:

WolfSense Advanced Report Generator
  • Irritation of the airways, coughing, and difficulty breathing
  • Reduced lung function
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nonfatal heart attacks
  • Some cancers

Research has found that certain populations are more vulnerable to these health effects, such as people with pre-existing heart or lung diseases, children, and older adults.

Temperature and Humidity 
Mold and mildew growth can be reduced where relative humidities near surfaces can be maintained below the dew point. 

Kurt Johnson,
Jan 22, 2013, 7:12 AM