Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's)
The term VOC is a broad classification of thousands of organic gases. VOC emission from material is commonly
known as "off-gassing".
Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain
organic solvents, as do many cleaing, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products.
Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are
using them and to some degree when they are stored.
EPA's Total Exposure Assessment Methodology studies found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants
to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, reguardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial
areas. Additional studies indicate that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves
and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.
While it is nearly impossible to eliminate all indoor VOC's the State of Vermont's Department of Health offers these suggestions
for reducing exposure.
- Increase ventilation. In some cases, this can be done by opening the windows and doors to provide fresh air from the outside.
Installing exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens and properly maintaining air filter systems will also help with air quality.
Use porducts that contain VOC's outdoors whenever possible; use indoors only if the area is well-ventialated. Combustion fumes
can also be a source of VOC's, so make sure furnace, chimneys and stove pipes are in good condition.
- Reduce your use of household chemicals. Consider using cleaning products that do not contain VOC'c such as baking soda,
vinegar or borax. If you have clothes dry-cleaned, air the clothes outside before bringing them into your home. Some interior
paints are solvent-free or contain very low levels of VOC's.
- Read and follow directions for use on the label. The maker of the product can supply you witha a Material Safety Data
Sheet which contains more information about safe use of the product. Keep products in original containers so that safety information
is not lost. Do not mix household products, even for disposal, unless specified in the directions.
- Store Chemical products properly in an area not normally occupied by people, such as a garage or shed, and safely out
of the reach of children.
Source: Vermont Department of Health, www.healthyvermonters.info
The EPA has a lot of information about VOC's and other indoor air quality issues: (click the link below)
Call our office for a price quote on testing for VOC's or Toxic Organics.
Radon & Mold Professionals
Formaldehyde is a colorless, pungent-smelling gas which can cause watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes
and throat, nausea and difficulty breathing in some humans exposed at elevated levels (above 0.1 ppm) 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. May also cause other effects
listed under "organic gasses"
Sources of formaldehyde include pressed wood products (hardwood, plywood, wall paneling, particleboard, fiberboard)
and furniture made with these pressed wood products, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), combustion sources and environmental
tobacco smoke, durable press drapes, other textiles and glues.
Call our office for a price quote on testing for formaldehyde.
Radon & Mold Professionals
Full Particle ID:
Full Particle ID incorporates physical testing with Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM), Scanning
Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) to identify nearly all particles
from cotton fibers, dander and dust mites to unusual materials such as carbon black, metal oxides and minerals. This analysis
is best performed in conjunction with PCM cassettes or other media to identify any fungal allergens. This method is the
perfect procedure for initial site surveys where Indoor Air Quality is in question.
|LEGIONELLA : DRINKING WATER FACT SHEET|
Legionella are small gram-negative rodshaped bacteria. Over
40 individual species of Legionella are known.
The majority of human infections are caused by the species Legionella
pneumophila was first discovered following a pneumonia outbreak at the 1976
Convention of the American Legion in Philadelphia.
The species Legionella pneumophila
is divided into sixteen subgroups (called serogroups).
HEALTH EFFECTS IN HUMANS
There are two forms of Legionellosis, pontiac fever and the more severe Legionnarires’ Disease.
Pontiac fever is a less severe form of Legionellosis which is charaterized by flu-like symptoms (fever, chills,
headache, and muscle pain) lasting 2-5 days.
Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal illness involving pneumonia.
Early symptoms include musclepain, loss of appetite, headache, high fever, dry cough, chills, confusion, disorientation, nausea,
diarrhea, and vomiting. Later symptoms include chest pain and difficulty breathing. It is difficult to distinguish
this disease from other pneumonias. Early diagnosis and treatment are extremely important. Treatment consists of intravenous
administration of antibiotics.
HEALTH EFFECTS IN ANIMALS
There are no reports of naturally infected animals. Scientists may artificially infect experimental
animals (such as guinea pigs and gerbils) with Legionella to study disease.
Legionella are mostcommonly found in water, including groundwater, fresh
and marine surface waters, and potable (treated) water. Legionella are protected againist standard water disinfection
techniques, by their symbiotic relations with later microorganisms.
Legionella are relatively resistant to standard water
disinfection procedures and, can occur in potable water. These bacteria have been found in water distribution systems of hospitals,
hotels, clubs, public buildings, homes, and factories. Other waters in which Legionella
have been found include cooling towers, evaporative condensers and whirlpools. These
bacteria may be transported from potable water to air by faucets, showerheads, cooling towers, and nebulizers.
Transmission to Humans:
Legionella are transmitted directly from the environment
to humans. There is no evidence of human-to- human or animal-to-human transmission of these bacteria. Potable water
is the most important source of Legionella. Humans
may inhale contaminated aerosols or aspirate small amounts of contaminated drinking water. No vaccine is available to prevent
Cases of legionellosis (any disease caused by Legionella) have been reported in North and South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand,
Europe, and Africa. National surveillance programs areconducted in the United States, 24 European countries (including
England), Australia, and New Zealand. Legionellosis outbreaks most frequently have been attributed to contaminated potable
water, cooling towers, or components of water distribution systems. Outbreaks in hospitals have been linked to hospital
potable water supplies, air conditioning systems, and cooling towers. Travelers can be exposed to Legionella in contaminated hotel potable water or contaminated whirlpool spas.
Community outbreaks are caused by exposure to a wide variety of sources, but potable water and cooling towers are the most
The general population (healthy individuals) is fairly resistant to infection. Certain groups of people
are at increased risk for contracting legionnaires’ disease, including: hospital patients who require intubation, have
received ventilation assistance, or are receiving respiratory therapy people taking corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive
drugs solid organ transplant patients, especially those requiring dialysis people with certain chronic health conditions (chronic
obstructive pulmonary diease,diabetes, head or neck cancer, or end-stage kidney disease) heavy smokers or drinkers Legionnaires’
disease in these people may be associated with more severe illness and increased mortality.
Environmental samples should be collected by swabbing areas where water flows (such as faucets
and shower heads). The specimen should be concentrated by filtration, treated with an acid buffer to enhance Legionella recovery, and cultured on a selective buffered
charcoal yeast extract (BCYE) agar medium. Culture assays are the most common tests used to detect Legionella in environmental and biological samples.
Control methods designed to disinfect an entire water distribution system include :
thermal (super heat and flush)
methods designed to disinfect only a specific portion of a water distribution system include:
ultraviolet light sterilization
instantaneous steam heating.
Selecting one or a combination of these two types of control methods would be best for eradicating
and preventing recolonization of the water distribution system.
EPA has established a Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) of zero organisms for drinking water. An MCLG
is a non-enforceable guideline based solely on an evaluation of possible health risks, taking into consideration a margin
for public safety.
• EPA has established the Safe Drinking Water Hotline, a toll-free number for further information
on drinking water quality, treatment technologies, and for obtaining Health Advisories or other regulatory information.
• Safe Drinking Water Hotline:
9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)
• Your state or county health officials or experts in your state’s Department of Environmental
Protection or Natural Resources may also be of assistance
Call our office for a price quote on testing for Legionella Bacteria.
Radon & Mold Professionals