West Palm Beach Air Quality Lauderdale Air Quality
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Below is detailed information on some very common indoor indicator chemicals that indicate specific types of common indoor pollution sources.
Information provided by our West Palm Beach air quality testing company.
The following are several common gas indicators that are sometimes found in air samples where gasoline is a contaminating source. When several gasoline indicators are found in the same sample then we often assume they are from a gasoline source.
Almost all VOC’s have more than one common source, so for example if Xylene or Toluene are found in a sample we may say that they are paint indicators if they are found with several other paint indicator in that same sample. However Xylene and Toluene are also gasoline indicators so if they are found along with an abundance of other gas indicators then we can reasonably assume that they came from a gasoline source.
Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene Also Known as (BTEX)
When found together they are commonly abbreviated as BTEX, they are common gasoline indicators.
Low levels of such compounds indoors can be the result of gasoline contamination of clothes and hands that occurred from building occupants pumping gas. More elevated levels may indicate the presence of petroleum gas leaks spills, dumps, or improper storage etc. Benzene is a known carcinogen. Several times the inspector has found very low levels of BTEX in homes in the West Palm Beach area and other towns. Low levels are not unusual.
Other common gas indicators:
1,2,4 trimethyl benzene
Pentane 2 3 3 trimethyl
2) The following groups of VOC’s are commonly off gassed by items made of plastic. These are plasticizers from plastics also known as phthalates.
According to Wikipedia Plasticizers are additive, most commonly phthalates that give hard plastics like PVC the desired flexibility and durability. They are often based on organic chemicals known as esters. Plasticizers work by embedding themselves between the chains of polymers, spacing them apart (increasing the “free volume”), and thus making it softer. Some plasticizers evaporate and tend to concentrate in an enclosed space; the “new car smell” is caused mostly by plasticizers evaporating from the car interior.
A study from Finland has shown that indoor plastic materials may have adverse respiratory effects on children. Plastic materials are common in flooring and wall surfaces of bathrooms, kitchens, playrooms, and bedrooms. They are also common in day care centers and schools. Many of these materials, which are PVC based, can emit plasticizers, solvents, and alcohols. Odorous alcohols are often released if excessive moisture in the environment reacts with the plasticizers. Children were studied for their frequency of asthma, allergic rhinitis, persistent wheezing, persistent cough, persistent phlegm, respiratory infection and nasal congestion. Information was obtained on the chemical and microbiological air pollutants in their homes and day care, and the presence of plastic materials. The study, involving over 2,500 children, showed that the risks of respiratory symptoms typical of asthma were associated with the presence of plastics. The overall risks of asthma and pneumonia were also increased in those children exposed to plastics than those unexposed. These studies confirmed earlier ones in Norway that showed an increased risk of bronchial obstruction during the first two years of a child’s life if exposure to PVC and plastic surface materials occurred. The authors concluded that plastic materials emit chemicals that have adverse effects, and that these chemical levels vary based on the ventilation within the environment.
A few common phthalates or plasticizers are
Diisodecyl phthalate [DIDP]: A plasticizer used in automobile undercoating, wires and cables, shoes, pool liners.
Di-n-octyl phthalate [DOP]: Flooring materials, canvas tarps, notebook covers DOP was used to be utilized in the production of medical blood bags. It was one of the most common plasticizers in production with about 9 tons of DOP produced every year until 1987. They stopped using it in blood bags when it was found to be leaching into the stored blood.
Diisononyl phthalate [DINP]: shoes, toys, and construction materials.
Butyl benzyl phthalate: from fake leather and traffic cones.
Di-n-hexyl phthalate: automobile parts, tool handles, dishwasher baskets, flooring, tarps, and flea collars.
Is from styrofoam and styrofoam like materials. Styrene is primarily used in the production of polystyrene plastics and resins.
The following are several common indicators that are sometimes found in air samples where dry cleaning chemicals is a contaminating source.
EXPLANATION OF tetrachloroethylene CAS#: 127-18-4. Other names for tetrachloroethylene include perchloroethylene, PCE, and tetrachloroethene.
Tetrachloroethylene is a manufactured chemical used for dry cleaning and metal degreasing. Exposure to very high concentrations of tetrachloroethylene can cause dizziness, headaches, sleepiness, confusion, nausea, difficulty in speaking and walking, unconsciousness, and death.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that tetrachloroethylene may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen. Tetrachloroethylene has been shown to cause liver tumors in mice and kidney tumors in male rats.
It is a nonflammable liquid at room temperature. It evaporates easily into the air and has a sharp, sweet odor. Most people can smell tetrachloroethylene when it is present in the air at a level of 1 part tetrachloroethylene per million parts of air (1 ppm) or more, although some can smell it at even lower levels.
LEVELS IN GENERAL:
The EPA maximum contaminant level for the amount of tetrachloroethylene that can be in drinking water is 0.005 milligrams tetrachloroethylene per liter of water (0.005 mg/L).
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set a limit of 100 ppm for an 8-hour workday over a 40-hour workweek.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that tetrachloroethylene be handled as a potential carcinogen and recommends that levels in workplace air should be as low as possible.
From: The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
3) The following are common paint indicators. When several paint indicators are found in the same sample then we often assume they are from a paint source.
Almost all VOC’s have more than one common source, so if Xylene or Toluene are found in a sample we may say that they are paint indicators if they are found with several other paint indicator in that same sample. However Xylene and Toluene are also gasoline indicators so if they are found along with an abundance of other gas indicators and few paint indicators then we can reasonably assume that they came from a gasoline source.
The following are a few common paint indicators when multiple paint indicators are found in the same sample then we often assume they are from a paint source. During Ft Lauderdale air quality testing or for that matter testing in any building it is expected that at least small amounts of these substances should show up.