Indoor contaminants can be drawn in from outside or can originate within a building. If contaminant sources are not controlled, IAQ problems can arise, even if the HVAC system is well-maintained and running properly. Step 6 involves managing some of the major sources of indoor pollutants in your building, including: 1) remodeling and renovation; 2) painting; 3) pest control; 4) shipping and receiving; and 5) smoking.
1) Unless remodeling and renovation are planned with IAQ in mind, these activities can create indoor air quality problems by emitting dust, odors, microorganisms and their spores, and VOCs. Take steps to prevent IAQ problems by isolating work areas. These steps include:
2) Painting interior spaces can also produce irritating or harmful vapors. Methods to prevent problems include using low VOC-emitting paint (now commercially available -- ask your product supplier), performing work during periods of low occupancy and arranging ventilation to isolate work areas.
3) Pest Control: Pest control methods often depend on the use of pesticides, whose storage, application, and handling can have serious health effects if label instructions are not followed. Chemical pesticides must be dealt with carefully to avoid indoor air quality problems. For example, mixing of pesticides should occur either outdoors or under a mixing hood specifically designed for pesticide mixing. One way to minimize the risk of IAQ problems from pest control is Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which emphasizes the use of non-chemical pest management practices wherever practical. The EPA brochure, "Pest Control in the School Environment: Adopting Integrated Pest Management," (EPA# 735F93012) may provide useful information on IPM practices. You can obtain this document through the National Center for Environmental Publications and Information (NCEPI) by calling 1-800-490-9198.
4) Shipping and receiving areas have the potential to create indoor air quality problems regardless of the types of materials being handled. Provide adequate ventilation for activities or materials that produce odors, dust or contaminants. Also, building managers should take steps to ensure that vehicle exhaust from loading docks does not enter the building. For a typical vehicle area that is predominantly open to the atmosphere, you can prevent engine exhaust from migrating into surrounding building areas by maintaining the rooms surrounding loading docks under substantial positive pressure (relative to the vehicle areas). Alternatively, for vehicle areas that are predominantly enclosed, you could maintain the vehicle area at a substantial negative pressure (relative to the surrounding building areas). In either case, this task is made easier through the use of vestibules or air locks.
5) Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) can be a source of irritation and is known to cause cancer. Establishing a smoking policy that protects occupants and visitors from exposure to ETS is essential to maintaining good IAQ in your building. To accomplish this, you should institute a smoking policy that prohibits smoking or restricts smoking to areas that are separately ventilated, maintained under negative pressure and directly exhausted to the outside.