April 15, 2021 / Ed Rutkowski

From the Archives: Readings in IAQ

With a rebroadcast from AIHce EXP 2020 scheduled for next week, AIHA University is renewing its focus on issues related to indoor air quality. On April 20, “An Evaluation of Common Chemical Contaminants in the Air” will discuss the basics of IAQ, differences between commercial and residential environments, the important contributors to poor IAQ, techniques to evaluate indoor air, and other topics.

Below, I’ve linked to recent articles on IAQ from The Synergist that professionals interested in the AIHce EXP rebroadcast may find useful. Longtime Synergist readers will not be surprised to learn that all these articles were written by frequent contributor D. Jeff Burton.

Using Triggers to Avoid IAQ Problems

In this article from the February 2017 issue, Burton discusses “trigger conditions” for common airborne chemical contaminants like carbon monoxide, physical markers like ventilation rates and temperatures, bioaerosol markers like mold, and human markers related to general comfort and infectious disease transmission protection (note that this article was published prior to the advent of COVID-19). The “triggers” of the title are conditions that may prompt actions from OEHS professionals.

Troubleshooting IAQ Complaints

Burton returned in the November 2017 issue to suggest how OEHS professionals can best address ten common IAQ-related complaints from building occupants, ranging from “The air is too humid in here” to “I smell musty odors in the ventilation system.” For each of these complaints, Burton presents typical causes and potential solutions.

Six Ways to Approximate Airflow

One of the most popular articles The Synergist has published in recent years, this feature from the June/July 2018 issue describes simple techniques OEHS professionals can use to quickly provide approximate answers to questions about airflow in a space. The techniques rely on information such as temperature and humidity; air movement and distribution, outdoor air flow rates, and air exchange rates in the occupied space; concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air; and the effects of wind on the airflow through a building.

IAQ-Related Comfort Complaints

A challenge for OEHS professionals when investigating an IAQ complaint is determining whether the issue is a genuine health concern or merely comfort related. This article from the February 2020 issue presents four common comfort-related scenarios that may nevertheless indicate the potential for adverse impacts on health.

What’s Up with Duct Cleaning?

Ductwork and other air handling equipment can become both the source and the pathway for dirt, dust, and biological contaminants. But the cleaning of ducts, if not performed properly, can be expensive and unproductive, and cause even more problems. In this article from the May 2020 issue, Burton identifies considerations for selecting a qualified cleaning company and summarizes best practices for cleaning.

Visit the AIHA website to register for AIHA University’s upcoming AIHce EXP rebroadcast of “An Evaluation of Common Chemical Contaminants in the Air” or view other IAQ-related resources.

Ed Rutkowski

Ed Rutkowski is editor-in-chief of The Synergist.


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