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Written By: Raymond M. Pirnat, Jr., CMC, CSA, Director of Field Services
February 8, 2018
As environmental consultants, we often hear from project or safety managers who are looking to solve an indoor air quality (IAQ) mystery for their company. They say that one or more of their workers are complaining that they are experiencing adverse health conditions because of their place of work. For many workers the place they work, whether it is an office, factory, or outdoors can have exposures that can affect their health.
A common complaint that we receive is one where only a small portion of the worker population seems to be affected and the adverse health condition is only experienced when at work and they feel better when away from work. Complaints can range from watery eyes and a scratchy throat to more severe issues like breathing difficulties, skin rashes, illness, even cancer. Managers are relied on to fix the IAQ problem, often without knowing the cause.
Enter the environmental consultant or EP (Environmental Professional). HR Departments and Managers rely on EP’s to identify potential causes and come up with solutions to rectify the situation. Much like a detective solves a mystery, the EP uses a number of tools to identify potential causes of environmental conditions in the work place that may contribute to adverse health effects.
Initially a phone conversation will identify what type of symptoms are being experienced, how many associates are being affected, the type of work being done, and a number of other factors that will assist the EP in developing an approach to solving the mystery of what is causing the adverse health effects.
In many cases environmental sampling is required to confirm or dismiss a suspicion. A site investigation by an experienced EP is crucial to understanding site conditions. Using laboratory data results and observations made during a site visit, the EP can determine the root cause and identify how to correct the condition. There are times, however, when sampling data does not offer conclusive evidence as to the cause of the adverse health effects being experienced. In those cases additional investigative actions may be required. Other conditions, not associated with the indoor environment, or outside the workplace, may be involved.
As environmental professionals we strive to assist our clients with determining what could be causing adverse health effects to their associates. A multitude of tests can be performed to confirm or dismiss any possibilities. Good sound work practices, experience, and current scientific methodology are today’s environmental professionals’ tools to solve indoor air quality mysteries.
We have over 40 years of experience in identifying and solving Indoor Air Quality mysteries.
Our primary service areas for Indoor Air Quality Sampling/Testing are: NJ, NY, NYC, PA, CT, DE, (Boston) MA, RI, Wash DC, WI, MD, MI, (Chicago) IL, VA, IN, (Atlanta) GA, AL, NC, SC, TN, (Dallas) TX, OK, DC, AR, we can service most other areas of the U.S. but with some added travel charges.