Healthy Indoors Magazine - USA Edition

HI August 2017

Healthy Indoors Magazine

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Page 21 of 49

MAY'S WAYS— August 2017 22 Easier solutions Here are some other building odors I've inves- tigated that were easy to solve, once the odor source had been identified. A strong odor of formaldehyde in an elemen- tary school. The school budget had been cut, so the Art Department switched to a cheaper finger paint that contained a preservative that released formaldehyde gas. Wherever paint jars sat open or paintings were hung up to dry, the odor was overwhelming. The solution? Use a better grade of finger paint with a different preservative. A strong musty odor in an elementary-school classroom. The vinyl wiring insulation in a com- puter contained a plasticizer that was off-gassing the musty smell. The computer was removed from the room, and the odor was gone. A fiberglass/plastic insect screen in a skylight that off-gassed an unpleasant odor whenever the sun heated up the screen. The homeown- er replaced the screens with metal-mesh insect screens, and that was that. Such plastic screens installed in windows can also off-gas the odor. The nylon base of a light fixture that smelled like a dead fish. The odor was due to a chemical called hexamethylene diamine — used to make nylon. You already know the answer to that one: replace the fixture. Tape used to cover a hole in a furnace ex- haust pipe. The tape was melting from the heat, resulting in a very unpleasant odor. Remove the tape, right? The odor that results from some SPF instal- lations isn't the only problem that can occur. I've found microscopic "droplets" (spheres) of SPF foam in some of the air samples I've taken. Some of these spheres are small enough to be nearly permanently suspended in air, and of the size to be inhaled deep into the lung. I'm not aware of any studies that have been done to assess the possible health consequences of such exposures, but I can't help but think that breathing in such chemicals can have a negative impact on hu- man health, as each sphere contains all the chemi- cals found in the components A and B. Off-gassing skylight screens May Indoor Air Investigations LLC Photomicrograph of skin scales and spherical SPF droplet (center) — all stained pink May Indoor Air Investigations LLC Photomicrograph of SPF sphere (center, stained pink) and fiberglass fibers May Indoor Air Investigations LLC

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