Global Indoor Health Network

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month.  The excerpt below was originally published in the January 2012 newsletter.

We know that the quality of indoor air affects our health. However, the exact mechanism for some contaminants is poorly understood. Therefore, I love reading research papers that better connect indoor air quality with health effects.

This month’s featured website has an excellent listing of articles establishing the health effects of problem buildings. The website is from the organization Global Indoor Health Network (GIHN). Membership in the organization is free and is split between professionals (such as doctors and engineers) and individuals who have been personally affected by IAQ problems.

The GIHN website includes 300+ links to different research papers, with the majority of articles related to mold and damp buildings.  The links are listed in alphabetical order, and cover three web pages (A-FG-MN-Z). However, my favorite part of the website is the excellent summary of the most important documents on the Health Effects page.

The organization also has other great information throughout the website, including a newsletter that highlights recent news stories. To visit this IAQ Website of the Month, please visit: Global Indoor Health Network.

To subscribe to this newsletter click the following link: IAQ Website of the Month.

Have Ian, the Indoor Air Nerd, consult on your home indoor air quality.

When your health starts to TILT

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month.  The excerpt below was originally published in the February 2013 newsletter. 

You may know someone with intolerances to seemingly low levels of chemicals.  They may no longer be able to work, go to school or engage in everyday activities like driving or grocery shopping.  Although everyone gets exposed to chemicals such as pesticides, solvents and those associated with new construction and remodeling, only a subset of exposed individuals develop multi-system symptoms.  These symptoms are best described as TILT- “Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance”. There are no biomarkers for these intolerances, as there are for allergic sensitivities (e.g. skin prick test for dust mite allergies).
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What’s Normal vs. What’s Safe

Every office has some employees with headaches.  What number of headaches would you deem excessive? What’s normal?

Indoor air contaminants are present in every home, school and office.  But are the concentrations high enough to warrant concern?  What’s safe?

When measuring indoor air quality parameters such as carbon monoxide, VOCs, mold or allergens, you’ll be faced with interpreting the results.  Your clients want straightforward answers to two common questions, “Is this normal?” and “Is this safe?”  At first glance, these questions seem identical, but there is an important distinction I would like to highlight in this post.

“Is this normal?” looks at the concentrations found in similar building types in a similar climate zone during a similar time of year. Concentrations of contaminants are usually in flux, leaving a normal, lognormal or other distribution.  Plotting out historical data from similar buildings will typically create a bell shaped curve that can help answer the question, “Is this normal”?  When taking measurements, you may record a reading that falls a few standard deviations from the mean.  This is a good indication that the level is not normal. Continue reading