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Investigative Tools and Techniques for Indoor Air Quality Studies
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Indoor air quality problems are diverse and often complex. Adverse indoor air quality problems can exist which create symptomatic conditions for building occupants. Often, the exact cause, or causes, of the substandard indoor air quality are unknown. Therefore, an investigative approach must usually be taken to identify the source(s) of the air quality problem, and if present, air contaminant concentrations. As the general public becomes more aware of the problems associated with poor indoor air quality conditions, an associated increase in air quality evaluation requests can be expected. This paper discusses some of the various investigative tools and techniques that can be utilized to identify air quality contaminants when performing an indoor air quality evaluation. These investigative tools and techniques can be used to develop a site specific list of possible contaminants and their sources, and can then be used to determine which contaminants are, in fact, present in adverse concentrations. Some of the investigative tools and techniques to be discussed in this paper include the following: visual inspections and site observations, information searches, review of building construction, review of ventilation systems, interviews, low and high volume sampling pumps, flow and oxygen meters, portable photoionization and flame ionization detectors (PID & FID), various types of vapor detector tubes, and gas chromatograph/mass spectrophotometer (GC/MS) analysis. This paper will be an introductory overview of the above listed investigative tools and techniques. The paper's attempt is to acquaint the reader with these investigative tools and techniques, and how they can assist the reader in an air quality evaluation.
Kennedy, S. R.; Quinn, C. B.; Henderson, J. E.; Vickery, R. G. (1994). Investigative Tools and Techniques for Indoor Air Quality Studies. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from