Clean Air Month is celebrated each May. It originally began as Clean Air Week sponsored by the American Lung Association (ALA) in 1972. The original intention to bring awareness to the connection between clean air and respiratory health remains unchanged. In 1994 the campaign was expanded to a whole month!
Why Air Quality is Important
The condition of the air affects the health and well-being of all living things. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that air pollution kills more than 6 million people a year worldwide. About one third of these deaths are from cardio pulmonary ailments such as chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer and stroke! The quality of outside air varies depending on a myriad of external factors like industrialization and prevailing weather conditions. This can make it hard from people to avoid certain pollutants while outdoors. However, the indoor environment is more easily controlled. Therefore, it has better air quality, right? Well, yes and no.
Clean Air Month also brings focus to indoor air quality (IAQ). Consider that humans spend 90% of our time indoors. The World Health Organization reports that 1 out of 3 buildings can be classified as “sick”.
Sick Building Syndrome is caused by a variety of factors related to construction, use and maintenance. Some of these include ventilation, temperature, humidity and pressurization. If a building is out of balance in one or more of these categories problems occur. For example, if there is infiltration into the building outside contaminants are brought inside. When ventilation is poor, then carbon dioxide builds up in enclosed spaces. If temperature and humidity rise microbes, like mold, begin to grow. All of these situations have a negative impact on building occupants.
Some common indoor contaminants include:
- Animal Dander (including Human)
- Carbon Dioxide
- Carbon Monoxide
- Formaldehyde and other off gases
- Fungi (Mold)
- Insect Detritus
- Particulate Matter
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)
These contaminants affect people in different ways depending type, quantity, concentration and the sensitivity of the individual. Often times they buildup in and are distributed by the HVAC system. This makes HVAC cleanliness a top priority in promoting good IAQ.
Identify and Minimize the Risk
Since Clean Air Month raises awareness let’s look at some ways to optimize IAQ. First and foremost, you need to know the conditions of the indoor environment. This starts with baseline testing. This can be accomplished with either do-it-yourself test kits or by utilizing a professional contractor like Pure Air Control Services to conduct investigations and analysis.
Our Building Sciences division provides everything from very specific inspections to more comprehensive services like a Building Health Check or HVAC Hygiene Assessment. While our Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) supports these evaluations with detailed testing, analysis and reporting. EDLab is also CDC Elite Program and New York State Department of Health ELAP certified for Legionella testing.
Reports issued by these divisions make recommendations to address any problems they find. That’s where our Building Remediation Sciences division comes in. They focus on engineered solutions to clean and restore dirty ductwork, fouled HVAC units, and contaminated buildings! Their services improve building health, occupant well-being and energy efficiency.
Clean Air Month brings awareness to both outside and inside air quality. It helps promote the need for the proactive testing and maintenance Pure Air Control Services provides to ensure optimal IAQ for building occupants.
For more information or to get started with IAQ testing and remediation services please contact us at 1-800-422-7873 or email us here.