Written By: Robert E. Sheriff, MS, CIH, CSP
Updated December 11, 2018
We have provided indoor air quality (IAQ) testing in the New Jersey (NJ) area since 1978 for problems such as mold, bacteria, chemicals, allergens, dust, asbestos, lead and Building Related Illness or Sick Building Syndrome.
We are New Jersey’s indoor air quality experts with the ability to investigate, test for and correct IAQ problems in a wide variety of settings including NJ office buildings, factories, warehouses, hospitals and pharmaceutical complexes. If employees or building occupants are complaining of poor air quality or increased illnesses as colds, flu, asthma, weakness, burning eyes, itching skin, rashes, sore throats, allergies, lethargy, or headaches, there is a possibility this could be related to the building.
Our services include New Jersey (NJ) indoor air quality testing for mold and bacteria, including mycotoxins and endotoxins, that may be adversely affecting building occupants. We provide thorough inspections of buildings and HVAC systems including air handlers, filters, ductwork, crawl spaces, attics, rooftops, air intakes, and exhausts. We will identify fungal and bacterial quantities and provide a clear interpretation of how the results may impact human health. Our objective is to identify the root of the problem and offer the specific actions needed to correct the situation.
Common indoor air quality testing/sampling or surveys include:
- Mold (including aspergillus, penicillium and stachybotrys)
- Bacteria (such as Legionella pneumophila, MSRA, E. coli, etc.)
- Asbestos (found in older buildings)
- Chemicals (VOCs, formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, etc.)
- Dust and particulates (black soot, construction dust)
- Allergens (cat, dog, rat, mouse, dust mite, pollen)
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) (from engines, cars, trucks)
- Tobacco (nicotine) (second hand smoke)
Phase I – Initial Indoor Air Quality Survey
Usually a one-day investigation of the indoor environment, the initial survey may include the following actions, depending on the situation:
- Preliminary information gathering and fact finding prior to the onsite visit to obtain information on the building, its system, occupants, activities, complaints (if any) and illnesses (if any) age of the building, size, type of construction, number of floor locations and number of HVAC units are also evaluated.
- Investigate general environmental conditions that could affect the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in the areas of study. An inspection also is conducted of the HVAC systems supplying these areas (roof units – ground level units) as well as the occupied portions of the building. Also it is important to focus on any areas where there are specific complaints such ad odors, dusts, respiratory irritation, skin irritation, nausea, lethargy, and multiple cases of similar illnesses in one area. Tape lifts and microscopic examination of the surface materials inside the HVAC system are collected. Pictures may be taken for confirmation purposes.
- Test for general indoor parameters such as temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and total volatile organic compounds. These parameters are measured with direct reading instruments. In specific cases this can also include oxygen, mercury, sewer gas, specific chemicals where direct reading instruments are also available.
- Collect Air-O-Cell samples in order to ascertain levels of particles such as mold/fungal elements and spores, opaque particle fragments, dust and fibers. This testing/sampling defines the nature of particles present and there relative quantities – usually compared to outdoor levels.
- Collect microbiological samples to test for the presence of molds/fungi, and/or bacteria.
- Sample any chemical agents identified during the preliminary information gathering.
(In all of the above tests, air samples are collected not only from the area(s) of concern, but also from non-complaint area and/or from outdoors for comparison purposes.) This can include VOC’s using Vacuum Summa Canisters or sample bags.
- Prepare written report of findings and recommendations listing corrective actions where problems have been identified.
- Provide expert witness or litigation support of the situations requiring legal action.
Phase II – In Depth IAQ Investigation
Where situations cannot be resolved by a Phase I evaluation and the extent of the problem is greater than anticipated or more testing/sampling and evaluation is necessary, an in-depth indoor air quality (IAQ) investigation would be performed. Each situation is unique, but the following are some of the tests that could be performed:
- More extensive examination of the interior of the HVAC System including opening ductwork or use of a boroscope and camera and test for molds, bacteria or chemicals
- Continuous monitoring of basic air quality parameters (CO2, CO, Temp., RH) – 24 hrs/day for up to 14 days
- Testing/sampling and analysis of airborne bacteria/fungi (bioaerosols), mycotoxins or endotoxins
- Microscopic assays – Air-O-Cells and Transparent Tape Imprints for mold, bacteria, fibers, dander, or pollen
- Particulate assays – microscopic identification of fibers, pollens, fungi, or asbestos
- Chemical assays – Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), specific chemicals and identification of unknowns
- Indoor allergens – dust mites, cat and dog dander, cockroach allergens, endotoxins
- Water Analysis – sampling/testing for Legionella bacteria, E. coli, heavy metals, hardness, or specific analytes
- Testing for formaldehyde – found in furniture, drapes, cloth, paneling and adhesives
- A detailed report with corrective measures and/or a remediation plan.
Our New Jersey (NJ) indoor air quality specialists can also provideexpert witness, litigation support and insurance claims assistance for issues such as mold, chemicals and Legionnaire’s disease (Legionella pneumophila).
If we have the opportunity to provide an indoor air quality survey for your NJ organization, we would use a step-by-step approach described in detail here. At Atlantic Environmental our priority is to resolve our clients’ indoor air quality problems as quickly, efficiently and cost effectively as possible.
Contact us today at (800) 344-4414 to discuss your unique needs and obtain a complimentary, no obligation quotation for indoor air quality testing and consulting services tailored to your organization’s requirements.