Is there a way to test the air in my home?
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My home was built in 2003. Always has seemed dustier than any other. Now it's even dustier and my family has been fighting headaches and respiratory issues for a good two months.
I am starting with a quote and some information written by Ray Woodcock (CIH) a professional in environmental health issues.
Are building issues the cause?
- One reason for noticeable dust in a new home is that debris may get into the duct work during construction if the ducts are not properly sealed. This condition might get worse over time as the debris degrades and becomes more easily dispersed.
- Another thought is if there is carpet in your home. We often recommend that people with dust allergies (actually dust mite allergies) not use carpet in the home, as it is a collector of all sorts of dirt and dust.
Then I thought the dust might be laden with chemicals from the off-gassing of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) from a whole host of items such as the cabinetry, glues for the flooring, insulation, paints or sealers.
Beyond the home
- As you live in Nebraska I thought perhaps it might be something regional and related to agriculture.
- He then recommended doing an ambient air test, EPA TO-15, as a starting point, a method for testing VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds).
- Each of these tests focus on a specific area, whether it is testing for a particular category of chemical, for particulates in the atmosphere, mold spores, dust mites, lead and so on.
- Each test will cost you roughly $400, and so it would be better to start testing once you get an expert opinion.
Hire a CIH
The more sensible approach is to hire a Certified Industrial Hygenist, (CIH), a highly trained professional, aware of many of the common problems.
- This person would have met the minimum requirements for education (a BS and an MS) along with practical field experience.
- They would have the required level of knowledge in all aspects of the field from Chemistry, to Engineering Controls& Ventilation, and Air Sampling.
- I read on one site that in 2009 there were 22 specialist in Nebraska with some associated with the University of Nebraska.
- The term Industrial Hygenist is not restricted by law, so please make sure that he/she is certified with the American Board of Industrial Hygenists.