EPA’s Inspection Checklist for Asthma

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month.  The excerpt below was originally published in the June 2009 newsletter.

I’m sure you know someone that suffers from asthma. A key to managing asthma is curtailing exposures to triggers such as dust mites and environmental tobacco smoke.

The Environmental Protection Agency has a great list of publications related to asthma. This month’s featured website is the EPA’s Asthma Publications page.

My favorite publication on the page is the Asthma Home Environment Checklist. This is a 7-page, simplified checklist for performing a home asthma assessment. If you perform residential indoor air quality assessments, you should incorporate these checklist items into your field work.

If you would like more basic information regarding asthma, there is a 13 minute video that provides a good summary. You should also check out the 2-page Asthma Fact Sheet that was updated earlier this year. In it you’ll learn that about 23 million people, including 6.8 million children, have asthma in the US.

To visit this month’s featured website, click EPA’s Asthma Publications.

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

Tobacco Smoke

Where to Smoke

More than two years ago, Chicago banned smoking in public buildings as part of the Chicago Clean Indoor Air Ordinance.  Why then were my eyes burning from heavy cigarette smoke while innocently sitting in my office yesterday?  I wasn’t the only one working late.  The neighboring tenant, a commercial cleaning company, had their lights on and their cigarettes lit up.

When the smoke-free ordinance passed, all the smokers in the Chicagoland area did not disappear.  It merely shifted the location of their activities.  Most building owners stopped worrying about environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), checking it off their list of concerns.  However, without a dedicated area for smoking, people may chose a location convenient for them and inconvenient for other occupants.

A very prominent LEED certified building in Chicago has only one place to smoke outside: under a sheet metal awning.  But wait, that’s not an awning… that’s the outdoor air intake!  Although the building is smoke free, it isn’t really smoke free.