Volatile organic compounds, fungi, Legionella: these substances and micro-organisms, harmful for the human health, can be easily breathed in even without stepping out of your home or office. WESSLING’s specialist delivered a lecture on a air conditioning technology conference on the indoor air quality testing procedures.
While you need only a couple of hundred grams of food, and a few litres of water a day, you breath in nearly ten thousand litres of air – the difference of order was rendered palpable by Zoltán Filep, head of laboratory at the WESSLING Hungary Kft. environmental business at the presentation held on the 5th Air Conditioning and Air Engineering Professional Day, calling the attention to the importance of air quality testing and the necessity of the appropriate tests.
The specialist stated that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are around us all the time in many different forms, since they may evaporate from the furniture, construction materials and other objects used in apartments and offices.
According to the laboratory experiences, the hazardous substances most frequently identified from air include benzene, toluene, styrene, ethynyl trichloride, tetra-chloro-ethylene. Most of them are flammable, carcinogenic, dangerous when inhaled, causes irritation of the eyes and the skin. In poorly maintained ventilation systems Legionella, potentially causing lethal pneumonia may also cause a serious problem.
Efforts must be made to incorporate materials with low formaldehyde emissions into offices and apartments (an OSB panel, for instance, consisting of wood chips glued together with resin materials may represent a health hazard).
Zoltán Filep highlighted that accomplishment of the tests in compliance with the safety at work legislation was an elemental interest and obligation of the employer, because if the values measured during inspections fail to meet the recommendations and the stringent limits, considerable sanctions can be expected.
In the course of the indoor inspections simple and quick on-the-spot testing (carbon-dioxide, ozone, carbon-monoxide, nitrogen-dioxide measurements), and sampling as well as laboratory testing in accordance with the requirements of the law may also be necessary.
During laboratory measurements the measuring instruments most appropriate for the job and calibrated by the organisation in question are selected, samples are taken, measurement made, knowing the materials, conditions and parameters thoroughly.
Beside volatile organic compounds, fungi and bacteria representing serious health risks the appropriate temperature, noise, and the operation of the air conditioning equipment may also be important factors – the specialist stressed.