General Indoor Air Quality Information:
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. There is a wide variety of indoor air pollutants and an even larger variety of sources for these pollutants.
The EPA Publication “The Inside Story; A Guide to Indoor Air Quality” gives an overview of common indoor air quality problems and solutions.
EPA has a number of other publications related to indoor air quality on their Indoor Air website.
Indoor Air Cleaning
The best way to address indoor air pollution is to control or eliminate the sources of
pollutants, and to ventilate a home with clean outdoor air. However, this may not always be possible due to weather conditions or the quality of the outdoor air. In these cases, it may be appropriate to use an air cleaning device. EPA’s guide to air cleaning devices provides useful information on things to consider when evaluating different air cleaning optionsers in the home.
Air Duct Cleaning
In certain situations, air duct cleaning may be an appropriate step to address indoor air quality concerns. EPA provides guidance on things to consider when deciding whether to have your home’s air ducts cleaned.
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Finding an Indoor Air Quality Professional
In some cases, identifying and resolving an indoor air quality issue may require the services of an indoor air quality professional. These individuals, and the companies that employ them, have the necessary training, experience, and equipment to address a variety of indoor air quality concerns.
There are two principal categories of indoor air quality professionals. The first category is consultants who diagnose and develop remediation plans for indoor air quality problems. Included in this category are industrial hygienists, indoor air quality specialists, asbestos and lead inspectors, and radon specialists. The second category is professionals that perform the actual remediation services to address indoor air quality problems. Many firms provide both diagnostic and remediation services.
There are several non-profit organizations that certify indoor air quality professionals. Although DEP cannot recommend the services of any particular individual or company, choosing a professional that has received the proper training and certification should help ensure you receive quality services. When selecting an indoor air quality professional, it is important to compare the services (and prices) of different professionals, check references, etc. just as you would for any other product or service.
Each of the organizations listed below has an on-line search feature that allows you to find professionals that provide the appropriate services in Montgomery County.
American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) – Professionals certified in air quality programs accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards.
American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) – Professionals certified by the AIHA in a range of air quality specialties.
Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) – Professionals that have received training from the IAQA and are certified by the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC).
Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) – List of air quality consultants and industrial hygiene firms maintained by MDE.
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