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Carbon Dioxide Levels Identified in Buildings Utilizing Onsite Test Kit

Mon, 2 Apr 2012 13:32:54 EST

Last year, an elderly woman in Georgia was found unconscious in a restroom at a McDonald's restaurant.  The woman later died and it was determined that a lethal dose of carbon dioxide (CO2) had build up when a bleed line for the restaurant's carbonated beverages, which was located in the wall cavity, became disconnected.
Although extreme cases like these due to carbon dioxide are rare, carbon dioxide measurements in indoor environments can provide useful information about potential indoor air quality (IAQ) problems.  Carbon dioxide is not normally measured in indoor air quality evaluations due to the potential hazards inherent with carbon dioxide at typical relatively low levels, but it is used as a surrogate, or indicator, of other potential problems. Carbon dioxide is emitted by humans during normal respiration, and the carbon dioxide levels indoors increase with the increasing number of occupants within the building or space.
Humans also give off other pollutants during metabolism that contribute to potentially offensive odors, and their work activities are also expected to produce some level of pollutant emissions.  'To maintain these pollutants at acceptable levels, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has established minimum quantities of fresh outdoor air that is to be supplied to buildings in order to dilute and flush out these pollutants,' reported Bruce Jacobs, CIH, President of IAQ Index, the developer of an onsite test kit that measures carbon dioxide levels. 'Therefore, it is common practice to measure carbon dioxide levels to determine if these recommended quantities of fresh air are being provided to the spaces being measured.'

It is important to note that the ASHRAE-recommended minimum fresh air quantities are not sufficient for controlling pollutants emitted by industrial processes and may not be sufficient for controlling pollutants emitted by office equipment, some school activities, construction & renovation work activities, and cleaning products.

The IAQ Index rates the indoor environment as good ("green") if levels of carbon dioxide are found to be less than 1,000 ppm; marginal ("yellow") if the carbon dioxide level is in the range of 1,000 to 1,200 ppm; poor ("red") if the level is in the range of 1,200 to 5,000 ppm; and dangerous ("black") if the OSHA standard of 5,000 ppm is exceeded.

To learn more about testing for carbon dioxide or other indoor air quality contaminants, please visit IAQ Index at, email or call (888) 259-3883.
About IAQ Index
IAQ Index was developed by a Certified Industrial Hygienist with decades of experience dealing with indoor air quality issues.  IAQ Index was developed as a health-based, easy-to-understand, air quality index that is calculated from data generated for various parameters commonly measured during IAQ surveys.  The approach is similar to the EPA's Air Quality Index that has been used historically to communicate the risks posed by common pollutants in the ambient air.

Source: WebWire

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