A recent study from the University of Alberta and Health Canada in Edmonton, aimed to explore not only volatile chemicals affecting indoor air quality, but also their sources. The study’s location in Edmonton created the perfect mix of green pastures and farmland with industrialized petroleum refineries and coal-fired power plants. This combination allowed researchers to examine the impact of a variety of compounds stemming from different environmental sources. While the study may have been performed outside of the U.S, it’s implications and results can play a major role and influence on air quality testing in Massachusetts for the future.
After data collections at both indoor and outdoor locations, researchers noticed quite a difference in volumes and varieties of volatile chemicals present. When indoors spaces were measured, alcohols made up the bulk of the chemicals found. This was followed by esters, ketones, alkanes, and aldehydes. These chemicals mostly came from cleaning products such as bleach, detergents, and disinfectants, but also from nail polish removers, building materials, and wall/floor coverings in smaller percentages.
When the outdoor spaces were analyzed, researchers found a significant difference in the amounts and specific compounds than was discovered indoors. Alkanes made up the highest proportion of compounds, followed by alcohols, aldehydes, esters, ketones, and hydrocarbons. These mostly stemmed from environmental factors and sources such as biogenetic emissions from plants, wastewater treatment plants, vehicle emissions, oil and gas industries, forest fires, tobacco smoke, and gasoline production.
The researchers utilized this study to emphasize the role and importance the sources of volatile chemicals play, rather than simply the chemicals themselves. These results can help policy makers and pollution control efforts to work on further improving indoor air quality, and the health of those who may be exposed to these sources and chemicals.
For more information about air quality testing in Massachusetts, contact Purely Green Environmental at 888-291-3773, or 603-886-0345.