volatile organic compounds (VOCs) OSB SERVICES/OSB LAB      
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   -Indoor Air Quality
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  Managing Indoor Air Quality and People Complaints  




 

   

   -Environmental
    Management

 

What causes people today to worry about their environment and personal air quality exposure?

People are better informed today. News media constantly address and expose environmental health concerns, technical literature in layman's terms is readily available, and the Internet has empowered every person to search for expert opinion.

People are more sensitive today. Our cleaner environment and absence of traditional disease has made people less resistant to infection. We have moved toward a more hygienic lifestyle for very good reasons - because it prevents the transmission of dangerous life-threatening organisms. But the cost of that may have been that we have deprived our immune response of an essential stimuli during the first five years of life (National Post 1999). How do people vaccinate themselves again? Development of allergic disease is illustrated schematically. A genetically susceptible individual is exposed to an allergen and becomes immunologically sensitized. At this stage the person is asymptomatic, but the sensitization may be detected by skin tests or laboratory tests. Over time, a proportion of sensitized individuals will develop one of a group of allergic diseases. Exposure to an allergen is understood to be a major factor at each stage of the pathogenesis of these diseases. The most common allergic diseases caused by indoor allergens are allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, and allergic skin diseases (dermatitis) (National Academy of Sciences).


 

   

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OSB Services/OSB Lab

2759 Thamesgate Dr.
  Mississauga, Ontario
Canada L4T 1G5
Phone: 905 677 0022
Fax: 905 677 0029

osblab@osbservices.com
osb@osbservices.com
Created by Aga




 

 



 

   
         
           

People are less tolerant today. Expectations are high today supported by long life expectancy and advances in medicine. There are many individual and collective influences on building occupants affecting their well being, comfort and tolerance at work. Perception of the work environment is influenced by environmental stressors such as lighting, noise, vibration, overcrowding, ergonomics, interior design and psycho-social issues such as company organization, culture, job satisfaction, security, health and family related problems (PM Magazine 1995).

           
Managing Indoor Air Quality and Tenant Complaints
 

The interaction of many environmental components can lead to indoor air quality complaints. Many of these environmental factors actually have little if anything to do with the quality of air around us. If people feel ill, uncomfortable, or "out of temperature", they blame air quality which also incorporates all aspects of the air delivery system. Our specialty is the measurement of both the chemical and people parameters that define indoor air quality (IAQ).

The 1995 Health Canada booklet (Indoor Air Quality in Office Buildings: A Technical Guide) is well written for this purpose. CSA has published their guideline Z 204-94 for managing indoor air quality in office buildings. A very good manual is published by NIOSH and USEPA: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers. A useful text: Indoor Allergens is published by National Academy Press (National Academy of Sciences).



     



The causes of occupant complaints in a well managed building in the GTA are multi-factorial and often elusive. Thermal comfort may be the only issue in your building which includes local overheating, underheating, humidity extremes, drafts and mainly lack of air circulation / exchange. Generally, the building air delivery system provides the same air quality parameters to all tenants. Therefore any tenant complaints will be a subjective matter, the result of their activities in the office space.

Some factors influencing indoor air quality which need to be considered during any investigation include:
 

       building design and location
   
  the outside air quality
   
  supply temperature and relative humidity
   
  off-gassing from office furnishings and equipment
   
  pollution sources, migration and entrainment
   
  occupancy levels
   
 
work activity


Our experience in the GTA has been that the outside air quality entering large commercial buildings has not been an issue. We are fortunate to be in a city that has usually clean air.

 

 
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