Mold and Moisture Susceptibility
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a term referring to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Indoor air quality, like energy management, is a fairly young industry. In fact, many of today’s IAQ issues stem from the energy-conscious building practices used in the 1970s. Structures were built virtually airtight in order to conserve electricity, causing ventilation problems and, thus, breeding some of today’s IAQ concerns. A-1 Certified Environmental Services, LLC
Continuing media attention given to the health effects of toxic mold, the outbreak of infectious diseases such as swine flu, and the increase in chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma have resulted in a growing interest and attention to indoor air quality in homes, commercial buildings, schools, and hospitals.
IAQ can be affected by microbial contaminants such as mold and other bacteria, or any mass or energy stressor that can induce adverse health conditions. Indoor air is becoming more of a health threat than outdoor air. Determination of IAQ involves collecting air samples, monitoring human exposure to pollutants, collecting samples on building surfaces, and computer modeling of airflow inside buildings.
There are two procedures involved when IAQ concerns are raised: investigation and remediation. Mold investigation is the process of identifying the location, existence, and extent of a mold hazard in a structure; mold remediation is the process of removal and/or cleanup of mold from an indoor environment.
Mold as a Causitive Agent
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests that there has been a significant increase in public concern about Indoor Environment Quality. This is reflected both in the number and percentage of evaluations conducted in relation to Indoor Environment Quality by NIOSH over the past 20 years.
Recently, Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) conducted a survey to determine what level of concern exists for IAQ. The findings revealed that 95% of those surveyed thought air quality was important, compared to 41% in the previous year. Over 75% of those surveyed were concerned with the quality of air and potentially harmful emissions in residences, offices, and other buildings, and more than one-third of the respondents were very concerned. The study also found that 80% of respondents were willing to spend their own money on IAQ testing and improvements in their own homes.
The findings of the UL study indicate that the desire for good IAQ is present in all building sectors. Evidence suggests that markets for IAQ solutions are significantly under-penetrated compared with their potential, which means significant business opportunities exist. The UL study also found that certain IAQ markets like Memphis are five to seven years behind the adoption curve. This provides further evidence that IAQ markets in different metropolitan areas are nearly untouched and that the potential for IAQ investigations and remediation are prolific