Indoor air quality (IAQ) issues can result from interactions between building materials and furnishings, activities within the building, climate, and building occupants. UFV is committed to providing a work environment that minimizes recognizable hazards and investigating any concerns that may be related to poor indoor air quality.
Health Canada and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) have established air quality and comfort parameters for indoor (non-industrial) environments. These standards are used as best practices throughout the industry and have therefore been adopted by UFV. Good IAQ will include air that:
- is free from unacceptable levels of contaminants, such as chemicals and related products, gases, vapours, dusts, moulds, fungi, bacteria, odours, etc.
- provides a comfortable indoor environment including temperature, humidity, air circulation, sufficient outdoor air intake, etc.
What are Indoor air contaminants?
Examples of common indoor air contaminants and their main sources include:
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) from building occupants and combustion of fuels such as gas and oil furnaces and heaters.
- Carbon mondoxide (CO) - from vehicle exhaust brought into the buidling by air intakes.
- Dust, fibreglass, asbestos, gases, including formaldehyde – from building materials.
- Vapours, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – from copying and printing machines, computers, carpets, furnishings, cleansers and disinfectants, solvents, pesticides, disinfectants, glues, caulking, paints etc.
- Dust mites – from carpets, fabric, foam chair cushions.
- Microbial contaminants, fungi, moulds, bacteria – from damp areas, wet or damp materials, stagnant water, condensate drain pans, etc.
- Ozone – from photocopiers, electric motors, electrostatic air cleaners.
- Other sources: tobacco smoke, perfume, body odour, food, etc.
What symptoms are often linked to poor indoor air quality?
IAQ issues do not affect everyone in the same way. When it is an issue, it is common for people to report one or more of the following symptoms:
- Dryness and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin
- Shortness of breath
- Hypersensitivity and allergies
- Sinus congestion
- Coughing and sneezing
People generally notice their symptoms after several hours at work and feel better after they have left the building or when they have been away from the building for a weekend or a vacation.
Many of these symptoms may also be caused by other health conditions including common colds or the flu and are not necessarily due to poor IAQ. This fact can make identifying and resolving IAQ issues more difficult.
What are the steps for an IAQ assessment?
If you are concerned about poor Indoor Air Quality at your workstation, please go through the following steps:
- Step 1 – Identify the source, if possible
- Step 2 – Determine if the source is building related (e.g., temperature, relative humidity or lighting issues)
- Step 3a – If the source is building related, please submit a work request through Facilities Management
- Step 3b – If the cause is not building related, please fill-out the following IAQ Referral Form on TDx.
- Step 4 – The appropriate site visits and follow-up will take place
If you are experiencing air quality issues in your area, use the table below to identify the appropriate contact. If you are unsure of the problem, contact Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) for assistance.
In an emergency, leave the area and call 911 and Campus Security: 1-855-239-7654 (local 7654). Seek medical assistance if needed.
|Facilities Services||Submit a Work Request
Submit a Work Request
After hours emergency:
|Environmental Health & Safety||
Submit an IAQ Referral From
After hours emergency:
Odours from smoking