IAQ Issues And What You Can Do About Them
It is not recommended that standard or minimize occupational exposure limits (example: OELs, TLVs®, PELs) be used to determine if the indoor air quality meets certain criteria. OEL’s or Occupational exposure limits listed in health and safety regulations and the Threshold Limit Values or TLVs; are merely intended as a guide to prevent illness or certain symptoms (like eye and nose irritation) in industrial atmospheres, therefore, these limits are not intended for an office or residential setting.
Occupational exposure limits use dose-response data which show the health effects of repeated exposure to one specific chemical. Data is not available for extended low-level exposures to a combination of contaminants as is the case for IAQ problems. Currently, there is not enough data to determine the effects of exposure to many potentially harmful agents.
How can I investigate possible IAQ issues?
Usually, people will report that they are experiencing illnesses believed to be caused by poor IAQ. The problem is finding the source or cause can very be difficult. The steps taken may vary from case to case but will include:
Look at the ventilation system to make sure it is operating properly (example: a mix of fresh air, adequate distribution, filtration systems are free-flowing, clean, etc.).
Investigate for possible causes (example: a source of chemicals, recent renovations, mold, etc.).
Eliminate common causes of the symptoms such as noise, temperature, humidity, ergonomics, lighting, etc.
Do a self-survey to help locate work sources and causes.
Consider help and/or air testing by a trusted and qualified professional.