Investigations of exposure to chemicals

Figure with magnifying glass

Source: Thomas Jansa, fotolia

The potential sources of indoor air pollution are manifold. Besides the materials, furnishings, and cleaning and care agents, the human factor in particular must be considered. Human beings emit carbon dioxide, odorous body substances, and bacteria and viruses into the atmosphere when exhaling. Substances are also emitted into the ambient air when human beings perspire. If deodorants are used, their contents increase the proportion for example of volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere. Hair loss and skin peeling contribute to the creation of dust. Further sources of emissions are computer equipment, photocopiers and printers, and even trivial office items such as paper, pens, etc.

The action to be taken must be decided on the basis of the findings. If the suspected exposure to hazardous substances cannot be confirmed, other causes for the complaints must be sought. However, if the initial suspicion (i.e. the suspected presence of hazardous substances in the workplace air) is confirmed, specific hazardous substance measurements can take place based on the findings of the investigation. Frequently, the findings of such investigations enable decisions to be made as to the necessary measures (e.g. redevelopment) without hazardous substance measurements having to be performed.