Facility Managers Nationwide Learn About Indoor Air Quality and HVAC Energy Efficiency

Pure Air Control Services Inc., will feature building health, occupant comfort and HVAC energy efficiency at Building Operating Management’s National Facilities Management and Technology Expo 2018.

NFMT Baltimore General Session

Baltimore MD, Facility Managers know the daily grind of juggling multiple assets and systems to keep their buildings operating the best they can. Often times budgets and maintenance programs are put at odds. Preventative maintenance quickly becomes deferred maintenance. This is when the vast majority of indoor air quality (IAQ) and HVAC energy efficiency issues begin to occur. In most cases addressing these issues later rather than sooner end up costing more in downtime and dollars spent.

We spend 90% of our time in shared, indoor environments. If something is amiss, it can wreak havoc on the organization’s biggest asset within their building: the people! Consider that a World Health Organization (WHO) report found that 1 in 3 buildings are afflicted with Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) which affects 64 million U.S. workers. These workers experience two or more of the following symptoms that can lead to lost productivity or absence: Nose irritation, Eye irritation and Headaches. SBS can be attributed to the failing of key performance metrics in a building operations and engineering, including the HVAC system.

Consider this, less than 3/16 of an inch of fouling across an evaporator coil can decrease the efficiency of that air handling unit by 21% or more! That performance hit, combined with a cool, damp, environment creates the worst-case scenario for mold and bacteria growth which can affect building occupants!

Pure Air Control Services Inc., will be talking about how they have helped their clientele to improve IAQ and energy efficiency at Booth 2515. On display will be their three specialized divisions, Building Sciences, Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory, and Building Remediation Sciences. Each of these teams works together to provide testing, analysis and engineered solutions to optimize facility IAQ and HVAC system performance, including energy efficiency.

At the booth will be an interactive HVAC evaporator coil demonstration to shows the efficacy of Pure Air’s proprietary PURE-Steam coil cleaning method compared to doing nothing to a clogged coil. The demo also outlines the benefits of their HVAC New Life total hygienic restoration. This unique restoration process allows facilities to extend the life of aging HVAC equipment for 1/10th of the cost of total replacement! IAQ Solutions Specialists will be on hand to discuss IAQ problem solving through testing and remediation services that can put building health and energy efficiency back on track!

NFMT 2018
Booth 2515
March 20-22
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore Maryland

For more information or to register for the conference please click here.

About Pure Air Control Services, Inc.
Pure Air Control Services, Inc. was established in 1984 as a small, mechanical, contracting firm and has since set the industry standard for indoor environmental quality diagnosis, environmental laboratory and remediation. Pure Air Control Services has serviced more than 600 million square feet of indoor environments in over 10,000 facilities.

The company’s nationally performed services include: Building Sciences evaluations; Building Health Check IAQ assessments; a CDC ELITE Environmental Microbiology Laboratory; Environmental Project Management; HVAC New Life Restoration and PURE-Steam Coil Cleaning/Mold Remediation Services, among other indoor environmental services.

Article Source: http://pureaircontrols.com/facility-managers-learn-iaq-hvac-energy-efficiency/

Household products make surprisingly large contributions to air pollution

smog over LA

AUSTIN, Texas — To reduce your impact on air quality, you might expect to trade in your gas-guzzling clunker of a car — but you can also unplug those air fresheners.

In urban areas, emissions from consumer goods such as paint, cleaning supplies and personal care products now contribute as much to ozone and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere as do emissions from burning gasoline or diesel fuel.

The finding is largely a sign of success, study coauthor Brian McDonald said February 15 during a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Steps taken to clean up car exhaust over the past few decades have had a huge effect, and as a result, “the sources of air pollution are now becoming more diverse in cities,” said McDonald, a chemist at Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences in Boulder, Colo.

VOC-emitting consumer products


Everyday products like these emit a bouquet of volatile organic compounds that contribute to air pollution. A spritz of perfume or a spray of disinfectant has a small effect, but frequent use of these products by millions of people adds up to a big impact.

  • Shampoo
  • Hairspray
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume
  • Air fresheners
  • Cleaning sprays
  • Laundry detergent
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Glue
  • Paint

“When you have a big mountain in front of you, it’s difficult to know what lies behind it,” says Spyros Pandis, a chemical engineer at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who wasn’t part of the study. Now, other sources of air pollution are becoming more visible.

The new study, also published in the Feb. 16 Sciencefocused on volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that are derived from petroleum. These are a diverse array of hundreds of chemicals that easily vaporize and make their way into the atmosphere. Some VOCs can be harmful when directly inhaled — molecules released by bleach and paint make people lightheaded, for example.

Beyond their immediate effects, VOCs react with other molecules in the air, such as oxygen and nitrogen oxides, to generate ozone as well as fine particulate matter. (Those nitrogen oxides come, in large part, from vehicle exhaust.) High levels of fine particulate matter make it hard to breathe and contribute to chronic lung problems (SN: 9/30/17, p. 18). And while ozone high in the atmosphere helps shield Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, at ground level, it mixes with fine particulates to form breath-choking smog.

Over a period of six weeks, the researchers collected air samples in Pasadena, located in the notoriously smoggy Los Angeles valley. They also evaluated indoor air quality measurements made by other scientists. The team traced the molecules found in these air samples to their original sources using databases that show the specific volatile organic compounds released by specific products.

Consumer products that emit VOCs have an outsized effect on air pollution, the team found. About 15 times as much oil and natural gas is used as fuel than ends up in consumer products ranging from soaps, shampoos and deodorants to air fresheners, glues and cleaning sprays. And yet these everyday products were responsible for 38 percent of the VOC emissions, the researchers found, while gasoline and diesel emissions accounted for only 33 percent. Consumer products also contributed just as much as fuels to chemical reactions that lead to ozone and fine particulate matter. The emissions from consumer products also dwarfed those from the production of oil and gas, called upstream emissions.

Extra emissions

Consumer goods like paints, inks and bath products make up only a tiny sliver of the sources releasing volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. But they have an outsized impact, contributing about as much to VOC emissions as gasoline and diesel do.

Emission sources: Use versus contribution to smog


Regulations on VOCs vary by state, but most consumer products are regulated only for their potential contribution to ground-level ozone, not fine particulate matter. This study makes it clear that even though most volatile emissions from consumer products happen indoors, that air eventually gets vented outside, where it can contribute to larger-scale atmospheric pollution in multiple ways, McDonald said.

More work needs to be done to see whether other cities show the same pattern, the researchers add, as well as to figure out which kinds of VOCs might be particularly problematic. Because there are so many VOCs and they all react differently in the atmosphere, there’s still a lot to learn about which might be most likely to form fine particles and therefore be the best targets for reduction.

Part of the challenge with many these volatile-emitting products is that they’re specifically designed to evaporate as part of their job, says study coauthor Jessica Gilman, an atmospheric chemist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder. For some products, like paints, there are low-VOC formulations available. But finding replacements for key ingredients in other products can be hard. Picking unscented versions of personal care products when possible and using the minimum amount necessary can help reduce the impact on air quality.

Article: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/household-products-make-surprisingly-large-contributions-air-pollution

Cutting EPA indoor air pollution research will cost money and lives

Cutting EPA indoor air pollution research will cost money and lives

Among the many headlines following the release of the Trump administration’s 2019 budget proposal this week was a 23 percent reduction in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Lost in the noise was an even deeper gutting of several individual research and management programs at the EPA, which, if successful, will have great negative impacts on human health and productivity.

The proposed cuts include 33 percent reductions in research on chemical safety and sustainability, 61 percent reductions in research on sustainable communities, and 66 percent reductions in research on air and energy compared to the fiscal year 2018 continuing resolution budget, as well as the complete elimination of the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) research program and the indoor air and radon management programs.

Combined, these programs make up less than 5 percent of the total annual EPA budget. Slashing their funding will cost money and lives by worsening the quality of the indoor environments in which we spend the vast majority of our time.

When most people think of air pollution they think of smokestacks and vehicles emitting pollutants into the atmosphere. Outdoor air pollution is associated with a range of adverse health effects including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases. But we spend the vast majority of our lives indoors — 70 of our 79 years of average life expectancy — where we are exposed to an astonishing variety of environmental pollutants from both indoor and outdoor sources.

Studies have estimated that exposure to indoor air pollution in homes accounts for about 10 percent of the annual non-psychiatric, non-communicable disease burden in the U.S. and that the savings and productivity gains achievable by providing better indoor environments in the U.S. are as high as $200 billion annually.

Importantly, much of what we have learned in this country about how our indoor environments affect human health and productivity has come from federally funded research. The research and indoor environmental management programs that the Trump administration proposes to cut from the EPA have been crucial to supporting this work, despite their tragically small impact on the annual budget.

Although most indoor environments do not fall within the regulatory jurisdiction of federal and state agencies like outdoor environments do, research on the indoor environment and human health continues to educate consumers, manufacturers, and policymakers in ways that have had tangible and positive impacts on people’s lives.

For example, research on the physiological and cognitive effects of lead exposure led to federal regulations to phase out lead-based paint and disclose its use in properties to potential buyers and renters.

Research on environmental tobacco smoke led to widespread smoking bans in public buildings.

Research on the toxicity of flame retardants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) led to their phase out of consumer products and appliances.

Research on radon exposure and lung cancer led to the development of Federal Radon Action Plans, State Indoor Radon Grant programs, and dozens of state-level actions to prevent radon-induced lung cancer.

And research on exposure to — and health effects associated with — chemicals found in consumer products led to California’s Proposition 65, which requires the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm and requires businesses to disclose the use of large amounts of chemicals in their supply chains.

Importantly, the EPA through its very small Indoor Air Quality program (comprising only 0.2 percent of the fiscal 2018 EPA budget) is also one of the few organizations to provide educational materials to the public regarding dangerous pollutants and strategies to remove or reduce those pollutants in homes and schools.

There is a clear and consistent trend in which the support of research and management programs on the links between indoor environmental quality and human health yields results that allow consumers to make more informed decisions, encourages manufacturers to make their products safer, and when necessary, advises federal, state, and local governments to enact policies that protect public health through improving the indoor environment.

Research has also shown time and again that the financial benefits of investments to improve our indoor environments greatly outweigh their costs. And researchers continue to discover new ways in which our indoor environments impact health and productivity. We must take action to oppose these cuts and others before they get lost in the noise.

Brent Stephens, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. 

Richard Corsi, Ph.D., is a professor and the Joe J. King Chair in Engineering #2 in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin .

The authors’ research has been funded by federal agencies including the National Science Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Article Source: http://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/374562-cutting-epa-indoor-air-pollution-research-will-cost-money-and

Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory to Host Pan-American Association of Aerobiology Spore Camp 2018

Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) at Pure Air Control Services, Inc., in collaboration with Pan-American Aerobiology Association (PAAA), is pleased to present the 2018 annual meeting and “Spore Camp”: This event, Aerial Bioparticulates & Indoor Air Quality, allows aerobiologists and others to come together, share, and explore indoor air quality, palynology, allergy & immunology and overall air quality. This conference and workshop will be hosted in Clearwater, FL at EDLab’s IAQ learning institute.

Spore Camp Workshop 2018

Clearwater, FL The Pan-American Aerobiology Association (PAAA) is a group of diverse individuals with scientific background and passion towards understanding air-borne biological and other inorganic & organic materials. Aerobiology is a multi-disciplinary science which deals with the source, dispersion, deposition, and impaction of aerobiota and their interaction with biological and abiological factors under the prevailing environmental conditions. The PAAA was constituted in 1989 during a Canadian symposium on aerobiology to foster the knowledge of airborne particles amongst the individuals residing in Pan American countries. The PAAA encourages discussion and scientific know-how about the aerobiological techniques amongst members and others for the welfare of human society.

Spore Camp 2018This is an annual event by this society, providing networking and other opportunities for those having the unique expertise, and various level of experience both from academia and industry. This organization also awards scholarships to students in order to support and ensure their participation. The participating students acquire an unique expertise and networking opportunity for their future pursuit.

This meeting will be held on February 28th and March 1st in Clearwater, FL, USA. During the course of seminar there will be hands-on learning about significant components influential to air quality, health and hygiene, and differing aerial bioparticulates besides scientific deliberations. Presentations during the meeting will allow individuals to share their knowledge and experiences in the field.Registration for this conference is now open to individuals interested in expanding their knowledge of aerobiology. This year’s host is Dr. Rajiv Sahay, CIAQP, FIAS Director of EDLab and also Vice-President of the PAAA.

About Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab)
The Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) (established in 1992) at Pure Air Control Services (PACS) is an environmental lab offering complete and comprehensive indoor environmental microbiology laboratory services. They include: microbiology, aerobiology, chemistry, allergen assays and microscopy designed to meet all your indoor air needs. EDLab supports IAQ investigations by assisting with strategic sampling plan development and supplying media collection equipment while performing a wide range of environmental analyses.

For more information on EDLab at Pure Air Control Services, Inc. please contact Dr. Rajiv Sahay, CIAQP, FIAS, at (800) 422-7873 x 304, or visit www.edlab.org

Article Source: http://pureaircontrols.com/environmental-diagnostics-laboratory-paaa-spore-camp-2018/

Environmental Measure Aides Asthma Interventions

A newly developed Environmental Scoring System (ESS) proved useful in a variety of home-based asthma intervention programs despite differences in settings, staffing, populations, and administration.

The ESS was developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to help address the highest asthma prevalence in adults among US states. Massachusetts is also confronting one of the highest percentage of children with uncontrolled asthma and the associated high rates of emergency department visits, hospital admissions and school absenteeism, according to rankings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Zhao Dong, MS, ScD, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, and colleagues who tested the ESS in several community-based programs considered these healthcare challenges, and the efforts to address them.

“There is evidence that asthma disparities can be substantially reduced by comprehensive care, both through the health care system and through home-based intervention programs,” they wrote.

The ESS yields a composite score ranging from 0 to 6 from a binary score of 0 or 1 for each of 6 asthma triggers: dust, mold, pests, smoke, pets, and chemicals. In preliminary assessments, the ESS was reduced at the end of a series of home visit interventions. The questions remained as to whether the ESS could be incorporated into various and differing intervention programs and relate to clinical outcomes.

“Given the large variability in the implementation of specific asthma programs and design of survey questions to collect information on asthma triggers, it is unclear whether ESS would be a good approach for measuring environmental triggers and predicting asthma outcomes across different programs and populations,” Dong and colleagues wrote.

In an editorial accompanying the evaluation of the ESS, Delaney Gracy, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, Children’s Health Fund, New York, NY, emphasized the importance of developing and validating such tools.

“In a time when our health system is increasingly focused on quality measures, value-based care incentive models, and quantitative impact assessment, well-designed tools, methods and comparative values are keys to meaningful data and the assimilation of information that can drive change,” Gracy wrote.

Dong and colleagues evaluated the ESS in 6 community asthma intervention programs, including the Boston Public Health Commission Asthma Home Visit Program (BPHC), the Boston Children’s Hospital Community Asthma Initiative (CAI), and Tufts Medical Center Floating Hospital for Children Asthma Prevention and Asthma Initiative (Tufts).

Among all participants, the completion of intervention visits was marked by an increase in the average of total scores on the Asthma Control Test, corresponding to reduction in symptoms, and a reduction in the number of emergency department visits and in ESS scores. The magnitude and statistical significance of the changes varied between programs, however.

Dong and colleagues found that statistically significant reduction in total ESS was primarily driven by reduction in the mold score in the BPHC and CAI  programs.

“Nevertheless, total ES was able to capture the overall variability in environmental triggers over visits regardless of the performance of each individual score,” they wrote.

All the studied programs improved asthma outcomes to varying degrees, and the ESS tool appeared to be widely implementable, without much variation of program and survey designs, Dong and colleagues indicated.

Gracy welcomed evidence that the measure could be useful to the intervention programs.

“This type of tool has the potential to be very important in creating needed cross-program comparisons, setting benchmarks of success, accumulating impact data to support intervention reimbursement, and facilitating the impact assessment of individual programs,” Gracy wrote.

The study, “Evaluation of the Environmental Scoring System in Multiple Child Asthma Intervention Programs in Boston, Massachusetts,” was published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

Article Source: http://www.mdmag.com/medical-news/environmental-measure-aides-asthma-interventions

IAQ Issues Flare Up Schools

Indoor air quality (IAQ) remains a topic of discussion in many institutional and commercial facilities as the general public pays greater attention to the role buildings play in both environmental friendliness and the health and comfort of occupants and visitors. For some building occupants, though, IAQ is more than a topic of conversation. It is a critical health consideration. Consider the case of two schools in Laurel Bay, S.C.

Run by the U.S. Department of Defense, Laurel Bay is made up of more than 1,000 homes near the Marine Corps Air Station and Parris Island bases. Its two oldest schools — Galer Elementary School and Bolden Elementary/Middle School — serve children of military families living on the bases, according to an article in The Beaufort Gazette. The military disputes that the school buildings impacted staff members’ health, pointing to tests done in 2011 and 2012 that showed no dangerous levels of a known carcinogen, according to standards set by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Learn more about the most common sources of IAQ problems.

But under different standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, three rooms in one of the schools had excessive levels of benzene. Experts say EPA standards are more protective of students’ and teachers’ health than OSHA’s. An exact number, or even an estimate, of Laurel Bay teachers who had serious medical conditions while working in the schools was unavailable. Neither union officials who represent the staff members nor a spokeswoman with the Department of Defense schools division would provide an estimate to the Packet and Gazette in 2010.

Read about the role of technology and training in preventing IAQ issues.

“The investigators indicated higher-than-average breast cancer diagnosis in the years prior to the study,” says Department of Defense Education Activity spokeswoman Elaine Kanellis. “No other major medical trends have been reported recently.”

In 2010, a number of teachers and other staff at both Galer and Bolden schools approached their union, alarmed by the number of employees being diagnosed with serious illnesses and infertility issues. About 80 staff members worked in the two schools around that time. The military said it did not know how many employees requested an investigation into the schools, though Kanellis told the Packet and Gazette that the number is “believed to be as many as nine.”

In the summer of 2010, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control ruled out contamination at the schools from drinking water or asbestos.

Worries about the schools reappeared last January. That is when the wife of a U.S. Marine previously stationed at Parris Island posted the YouTube video, describing the 2015 leukemia diagnosis of her daughter, Katie Whatley. Amanda Whatley’s family lived on Laurel Bay from 2007 until 2010, and she questioned the connection the base played in her daughter’s diagnosis.

Article Source: http://www.facilitiesnet.com/iaq/tip/IAQ-Issues-Flare-Up-Schools–40536