May 2015
Indoor Environmental News
Asthma Awareness Month Recognized throughout Texas & the Gulf Coast

May is Asthma Awareness Month and a reminder that approximately 25 million people in the United States suffer from the disease.  In Texas alone, more than 2 million people have been diagnosed with asthma. 


The Texas Department of State Health Services reports that 1 in every 11 children has asthma and it causes 3 in 5 people living with the disease to limit their physical activity or miss days of school and work. Asthma is also expensive, costing the nation $56 billion each year. Texas asthma hospitalizations cost more than $658.5 million in 2012.


Although asthma cannot be cured, it is possible to manage asthma successfully by reducing and preventing asthma attacks. Successful asthma management includes knowing the warning signs of an attack, avoiding things that may trigger an attack and following the advice of healthcare professionals.


"Understanding one's asthma triggers, which can vary from person to person, is important for controlling this chronic disease," said Hollis L. Horner, President, Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc.  "At IEC we support the efforts of Asthma Awareness Month and encourage people to learn about asthma triggers in their homes, schools and places of business.  We also help those with asthma by providing indoor air quality testing services for known asthma triggers such as mold, dust mites, cockroaches, pet dander, smoke, volatile organic compounds and other substances.  Understanding what a person is being exposed to, so that corrective actions can take place or certain situations be avoided, can make all the difference in managing the condition and preventing attacks." 


To learn more about IEC's environmental asthma trigger testing services or other indoor air quality (IAQ) consulting services, 
 please visit , email or call (877) 432-8378.



Tips for Facility Managers Tasked with Mitigating Indoor Allergy Complaints


When an employee comes to work and develops allergy symptoms that improve or go away once they leave their work environment, it is often a good indication that there are indoor allergens in the building.  Once an employee recognizes that this is likely the case, they will often speak to their supervisor or human resources department to share their concerns.  At this time, in many circumstances, the facility manager of the building will be contacted and asked to resolve the problem.


There are numerous indoor allergens that can impact individuals that are susceptible to their exposure.  These can include everything from mold, pollen, cockroaches, and dust mites to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), tobacco smoke, latex, and even perfumes from co-workers.  These allergic reactions can be exacerbated by issues such as lack of ventilation and humidity levels within the building.


Facility managers tasked with resolving workplace allergies should learn all they can about the employee's complaint.  They should also investigate the HVAC system for filtration, humidity levels and air exchange rates and look for possible allergen sources within the building.  These may include dusty conditions, moisture damage and visible mold growth, cleaning protocols and chemicals used, and if any renovation activities are currently taking place or have recently been completed that could have generated dusts.  Also new paints, carpeting, and furnishing could be off-gassing VOCs into the indoor air.  


When an employee or employees are suffering from the presence of workplace allergens there can be many factors involved and what may be causing issues for one person is not always the same issue for another.  IEC harnesses decades of building science experience to look at everything from what the building is being used for, to how the HVAC system is operated and maintained, and to what is in the air through real-time monitoring and air sampling to identify any problems and develop lasting solutions.


To learn more about IEC's allergen and indoor air quality testing and consulting services,   please visit , email or call (877) 432-8378.