How Building Particulate Matter Affects People
The COVID pandemic highlights the danger of airborne viruses as well as the need to limit their spread. Viruses, however, are not the only risk posed to building occupants. Airborne particulate matter (PM) poses a significant risk as well. When we breathe in these tiny particles, some smaller than ten microns, we put ourselves at serious risk of respiratory issues. Since we spend 90 percent of our daily lives inside, long-term exposure to building particulate matter is cause for concern.
Building Particulate Matter Explained
While many people are aware of the dangers posed by building particulate matter, they may not be sure what that means. Particulate matter, or PM, is a mix of particles and liquids. Too small to be seen by the naked eye, PM contains things such as metals, dust, soil, organic chemicals, and acids.
When it comes to building particulate matter, size matters. In fact, the smaller the particulate the more danger it poses. Tiny hairs in the nose and mucus in the trachea and bronchial tubes trap viruses, bacteria, and dust. However, particles ten micrometers in diameter or smaller pass through the nose and throat without being filtered. These particles then enter the lungs where they can cause serious respiratory issues and even heart problems.
The Health Impact of Building Particulate Matter
Both long- and short-term exposure to PM presents health risks. In turn, this presents a challenge to facilities managers tasked with keeping building occupants safe. Even a one-time exposure poses risks. For example, inhaling fine dust particles causes inflammation in the lungs. It also increases blood pressure. Long-term exposure could lead to aggravated asthma attacks as well as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
Effects of Exposure to Building Particulate Matter
When particulates collect in the throat and lungs, our bodies try to expel them but coughing and wheezing. As pollutants wear down the mucus lining in the throat and lungs, acute inflammation can trigger an asthma attack.
Increased Blood Pressure
A rise in blood pressure results from fine particles (2.5 microns or less) entering the bloodstream through the lungs. This causes blood vessels to restrict making blood flow more difficult. The heart must also work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Blood pressure increases as a result.
Exposure to building particulate matter over a long period could lead to chronic bronchitis. With this comes health issues including breathing trouble, chest discomfort, coughing, and even heart failure.
Cardiovascular and Respiratory Disease
Another risk associated with long-term exposure to building particulate matter is an increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory issues. This includes coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cardiac arrhythmias.
Pure Air Solutions to Building Particulate Matter
Pure Air Solutions helps facilities managers and business owners reduce the threat of building particulate matter. We offer a suite of services and methods that improve indoor air quality and keep people safe.
Building Health Check
Our Building Health Check is an affordable, comprehensive evaluation of the indoor environment. It includes sample testing and analysis performed by our accredited environmental diagnostics lab. Our team collects air and surface samples and tests them for the presence of mold, bacteria, and other particulates. In addition, the team takes readings of temperature and relative humidity as well as floor and wall moisture readings.
HVAC Hygiene Assessment
Our HVAC Hygiene Assessment helps us assess the impact of the HVAC system on IAQ. Samples collected from the air handling unit get tested for bacteria and fungi. A detailed report presents facilities managers with recommendations on improving conditions.
Building Remediation Sciences Services
After addressing the threat of building particulate matter, remediation follows. We have several methods for cleaning, disinfecting, and restoring HVAC equipment.
PURE-Duct – Knocks out and removes dirt and debris using high-pressure airflow and a vacuum system equipped with a HEPA filter.
PURE-Steam – Cleans the air handling unit and restores it to near-factory specifications. Also increases energy efficiency which lowers operating costs.
HVAC New Life – Includes the application of PURE-Cell insulation, PURE-Coil high-performance coating, PURE Liner drain pan protection, and PURE-Coat anti-viral, anti-microbial coating.
Guard Against Building Particulate Matter
Our IAQ Guard®2.0 service uses sensors placed throughout the facilities to monitor environmental conditions in real-time. This allows for a remote team to address issues quickly. The result is IAQ at optimal levels as well as a reduction in the threat of building particulate matter.
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