Understanding an Indoor Air Quality Problem
Have you been puzzled lately by various types of odors such as scented products, air fresheners, laundry detergent, personal care scents, or others? A survey of selected consumer goods showed some of these kinds of products may emit volatile organic compounds which could cause an indoor air quality problem. Some of these compounds are classified as toxic or hazardous by law. Some of these aromatic compounds can be the source of IAQ problems. These compounds may be inorganic or organic in nature. They can emit pleasant and unpleasant odors.
By the end of the 19th century, more synthetic ingredients started replacing the natural products, such as essential oils in perfumes and other cleaning products. Over 3000 fragrance ingredients are estimated to be used in these products. Approximately over 12% of the population suffers from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). The emitted volatile chemicals by these products may pose an issue or nuisance to these individuals.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates the cleaning supplies, air fresheners, and laundry products and the Food and Drug Administration oversees the personal care products. However, the manufacturers are not enforced to disclose some of the ingredients due to copyright and trade secret issues. Some common compounds which may be toxic or unpleasant includes, but is not limited to, acetaldehyde, acetone, ethanol, benzaldehyde, isopropyl alcohol, pinene, benzyl acetate, ethyl acetate, isoamyl acetate, cymene, limonene, etc. These compounds, after emitting from their source materials, can also give rise to byproducts such as ozone, formaldehyde, etc. which have adverse effects on health and hygiene a result of an indoor air quality problem.
Therefore, it is important to take people’s complaints about an indoor air quality problem seriously. To assess the exposure risks, it is essential to estimate these chemicals in and around the individual’s dwellings. Several tests, from Do-It-Yourself screen tests to detailed environmental diagnostic evaluations are available to help identify indoor environmental contaminants of these chemicals resulting from various products used in our day-to-day lives.
Have an indoor air quality problem? Feel free to contact us with any questions.