We talk a lot about asbestos at Now Environmental Services and at this point we all know how dangerous asbestos exposure can be. Asbestos generally can not be detected when it is inhaled and can cause all sorts of problems down the road. The microscopic fibers are known to lodge in the lining of the lungs and cause various forms of cancer. Thankfully much of the easily accessed asbestos has been removed from many of the places that we go. That being said, the danger of asbestos in older buildings is still a reality and comprehensive air monitoring is a good idea whenever there is a disturbance of the building. Of course asbestos is not the only air quality issue that can be present inside of your home. There are many indoor air quality issues that could be present, smoke you may realize but others are much more hidden.
In this day and age, not too many areas indoors offer a nice smoky haze that seemed to be so prevalent in the past. The health ramifications of smoking have drastically reduced the places that smokers are allowed to light up. In fact, many public buildings in this country are smoke free, of course it is not possible to prohibit someone from smoking in their own home and smoking can be a major cause of indoor air pollution. We all know the dangers of smoking and that of second hand smoke, but the addictive qualities of tobacco mean that many smokers tend to neglect the health ramifications of smoking indoors. Cigarette smoke contains a wide variety of nasty chemicals and can cause harm. While smoking indoors has increasingly become more of an oddity, second hand smoke is a major cause of indoor air pollution.
VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds are increasingly coming under scrutiny for creating various health problems. The effects of breathing or touching these compounds can range from mild irritation to severe respiratory issues. VOCs are unfortunately everywhere as they are essentially the off-gassing of compounds being stored. Basically when you are storing a can of gas in your garage, the liquid is emitting small amounts of toxic particles into the air. Many times these harmful compounds are not known to the resident of the home because they cannot be detected unless indoor air quality testing is ordered.
Of course stored chemicals are not the only source of VOCs and many building materials are guilty of emitting compounds into the air. A big cause of VOCs when related to building materials is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is one of the major gasses that can cause problems in the home. The culprits are generally materials that you would never consider to be hazardous. A few of the largest offenders are fundamental building materials like carpet, insulation, and even plywood. That’s right, ordinary plywood is a major source of formaldehyde in the home. The reason is because of its construction. Plywood is made up of thin sheets of wood glued together at alternating angles. This gives plywood superior strength and durability. The only problem is that the glue that has historically been used would emit formaldehyde into the air. As for insulation, we are talking about the pink rolls of the stuff, and the glue that is used to attach it to the paper is what causes issues. Currently, you are able to buy insulation with adhesive that is VOC free and many building materials are following suit. The VOC option for clean building materials has created much safer indoor air quality in this country.
What do you do if you suspect that your home could be the victim of chemicals that are creating unsafe air quality in your home. Cigarette smoke of course, was used as an example of obvious compromised indoor air quality but VOCs are not generally easy to detect without comprehensive testing. At Now Environmental Services, we offer a full range of indoor air quality testing services. Performed by highly trained technicians whose goal it is to keep your family safe and free of irritating compounds. So, if you suspect that your air quality may be compromised, or would just like to sleep easier, give Now Environmental a call today.