Workplace and Indoor Air Quality Testing

indoor air quality testing in classroomsAre you hearing health complaints, smelling odors, or seeing smoke in the workplace?  Maybe you need to test the air quality in an industrial or school environment?  The indoor air quality at a workplace or building can quickly change for the worse, resulting in “sick building” syndrome. The pollutants can be invisible and odorless, and may even originate from groundwater or soil contamination beneath a concrete floor! Let ERA conduct workplace indoor air quality testing to target potential pollutants in your environment and offer a path to clean air again!

indoor air testing for schoolsERA has experience in providing indoor air quality testing services. Typically, an ERA representative will speak with you to discuss your manufacturing building environment and processes. The storage, handling and use of chemicals and generated wastes at the facility are reviewed. In special cases, other potential sources of indoor air pollutants may be considered such as the migration or vapor intrusion of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from groundwater or soil through a concrete floor into the breathing zone. Sometimes “sick building” syndrome can be caused by inadequate ventilation, climate control or combustion gases.

With a scope of work in hand, ERA personnel will visit your site to gather additional data and take air samples for laboratory testing. Depending upon the situation, field tests may be made to assess adequate ventilation, climate control, or the presence of combustion gases such as carbon monoxide. Air samples can be taken to determine the concentration of mist or smoke particles. Portable personal samplers may be placed on key employees in targeted process areas to determine pollutant concentrations experienced during the day or peak periods.

Once all the information and laboratory data is received, ERA can compare the results to established workplace or residential threshold limits and report to the client.welder-in-industrial-workplace

Some projects:

Mosquito Control - A manufacturer of plastic film products had experienced small mosquito-like bugs entering personnel doors during the summer and being incorporated into the rolled product. ERA conducted a site visit to gather data on the entry points, ventilation rates and geometry. Based upon our review of the data, ERA designed alterations to the entry doors to include ventilation controls that would block the entry of bugs into the manufacturing area.

Personal Protection Program - A pharmaceutical manufacturer was considering a new batch-wise process to formulate a pharmaceutical preparation that used hazardous ingredients. A personal protection program was required for production workers exposed to the ingredient. During a test production run, ERA identified production steps that likely produced the highest airborne concentrations. We obtained area and short-term indoor air quality samples in strategic areas and from breathable air zone for targeted production workers. Ventilation rates were measured as well. Based upon the field and laboratory results, ERA prepared a personal protection program for production workers for use during the manufacturing process.

Vapor Intrusion through Concrete Floor - A manufacturing building situated on a thick industrial concrete floor overlaid groundwater that was contaminated with chlorinated solvents. ERA retrieved and analyzed sub-slab soil gas samples from beneath the concrete floor in strategic locations to assess the likelihood of vapors migrating from groundwater into the workplace air. The soil gas results were high, indicating a potential risk to workers. This prompted testing of the workplace air during the summer, which found no evidence of the chlorinated solvents. Additional testing was conducted by ERA during the heating season when doors, etc. are closed to determine the worst case scenario. Fortunately, the concentration of chlorinated solvents in the workplace air during the winter was comfortably low to exclude a risk to occupants.

Air Modeling for Sick Building - Nurses in one wing of a hospital were experiencing temporary health effects. ERA was engaged to assess the extent and cause of these complaints. Potential sources of air contaminants were reviewed and a likely candidate identified - the refilling of underground oil tanks. Vents for the underground fuel tanks discharged a short distance above the roofline of the hospital. Due to the geometry of the building and vents, odors could potentially be incorporated into make up air vents. ERA conducted analytical and numerical air modeling of the potential source and intakes to estimate the concentration of fuel odors in that wing of the building. Based upon the modeling, ERA concluded that the fuel concentrations within the building could cause the observed health effects and recommended changes to the ventilation system and vents.

Workplace Controls for Air Quality - A manufacturer of plastic filter products was plagued by smoke emitting from a calendering process and wished to control the smoke within the building. ERA personnel observed the process, took geometric and air flow measurements for designing workplace controls. A ventilation hood was designed to capture the smoke and ventilate to the outside, thereby eliminating the need for personal protection equipment for the employees.