Bayamon, Puerto Rico -- Last month, USA Today published the article, “Is your home or office affecting your health?” One of the areas of focus in the column was the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) and minimizing indoor pollution. Indoor air quality was addressed from both the perspective of better health and from the business perspective of how it can increase productivity and decrease sick days.
With Americans spending approximately 90% of their time indoors, as reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air quality has a major impact on people’s health and well-being. This also happens to be especially relevant today in Puerto Rico following all of the property damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria earlier this year. Depending on if there was water intrusion to a building and when it was constructed, these damaged buildings and homes could be exposing people to everything from mold and asbestos to lead in the air they breathe. Even in properties that have been repaired to like new conditions, building occupants could be exposed to elevated levels of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) due to off-gassing from new building materials, paints, stains and varnishes.
“Even under normal conditions, the EPA reports that concentrations of some indoor pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “The last few months in Puerto Rico and many other parts of the Caribbean have been anything but normal. There are challenges to healthy indoor air quality in many circumstances right now, but that doesn’t have to be the case. At Zimmetry, we offer comprehensive indoor environmental quality audits and testing services to identify potential exposure risks. If an issue is found, our building science professionals can provide the expertise to have it resolved so that everyone living, working or going to school in the structure is exposed to healthy IAQ.”