Summaries of the Latest Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and Covid Research  

Research Summaries

Elevated PM2.5 levels indoors can detrimentally affect cognitive performance, even during short-term exposure. Building and Environment

Mold inhalation can interfere with cognitive processing in different ways depending on the task and the presence of mycotoxins. Behavioural Brain Research

Residential renovation and buying new furniture in prenatal and postnatal periods consistently increased odds of childhood airway diseases and allergies. Building and Environment

Of 88 published studies that evaluated the indoor environment of schools, only 4 studies evaluated the four main areas of IEQ: indoor air quality, thermal comfort, acoustics, and lighting. Buildings

The low-cost PurpleAir PM2.5 monitor showed good performance but struggled with higher concentrations and had lower consistency when measuring particles >1 μm. Building and Environment

Physical barriers did not adequately protect occupants from respiratory particles. Aerosol Science and Technology 

This study proposes a calculation framework to establish carbon dioxide (CO2) threshold limits to control indoor long-range airborne transmission of COVID-19. Building and Environment

This study laid the groundwork for a screening tool that could use fungal VOC emissions to help identify moldy homes. Environmental Research

Semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) can be found in the gas phase or condensed on particles.  This study researched how SVOCs can partition between the two phases.  Environmental Science & Technology

This study used artificial neural networks to predict the future indoor temperatures and thermal comfort of buildings. Building and Environment

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If you are interested in obtaining a certification related to moisture, mold, and other microorganisms found indoors, consider taking our Online Microbial Investigator Course.  Our online course prepares you for certifications offered by the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) including the Council-certified Microbial Investigator (CMI) and the Council-certified Microbial Consultant (CMC).

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Lead Paint Chips Falling Off of CT Bridges

CT NPR by Dave Altimari

Connecticut – Chips of lead paint are falling off hundreds of bridges in Connecticut at such a rate that the state Department of Transportation has put out an alert to municipalities and intends to hire contractors to clean it up. “Bridge structures statewide have been experiencing a sudden, unexpected release of lead-based paint chips, which is believed to be related to the recent extreme swings in temperature,” said the DOT alert first issued to its own employees on Feb. 17. The DOT’s bridge maintenance unit spent last weekend inspecting more than 2,100 bridges across the state and determined that lead paint was cracking and falling off hundreds of them. For the full text, click here.

EPA Struggles To Ban Asbestos, Other Chemicals, Years After Congress Granted It New Powers

Washington Post by Timothy Puko

Washington, DC – Although Congress passed an overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act in 2016 with bipartisan support, the EPA has yet to finish one new rule under the law. The move to ban one of the last actively used forms of asbestos is the only proposal that could become a final rule by late this year. The grinding process has left health and safety advocates upset with how long the EPA is taking to carry out Congress’s effort to fix long-standing shortfalls in the country’s chemical regulations, itself a deal that took years of fighting to pass. For the full text, click here.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Recently Announced Changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Multifamily Radon Standards.

By Partner Engineering and Science, Inc.

Details regarding policy guidance including exemptions can be found here : Blog | Federal Housing Finance Agency FHFA Increases Radon Testing Requirements at Enterprise-Backed Multifamily Properties

Several states require licensed professionals to follow specific protocols for testing of multifamily buildings.  Two states have state-specific protocols while eight states have fully adopted the EPA-recognized radon standard of practice for testing multifamily buildings (see graphic below).  This standard is identified as the “American National Standards Institute and American Association of Radon Scientist and Technologists (ANSI/AARST) Standard: Protocol for Conducting Measurements of Radon and Radon Decay Products in Multifamily Buildings (ANSI/AARST MAMF-Rev -2021)”.  According to the protocol, testing locations include all ground-contact dwellings as defined within the MAMF-Rev-2021, large rooms or open areas (one every 2,000 square feet), as well as other ground contact (non-residential) rooms that are regularly occupiable, and 10% of upper floors.


National Certification Programs

National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP) – The NRPP provides certification credentials for professional radon testers and mitigators. As an independent administrative program of the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists, Inc. (AARST), the NRPP holds the ISO 17024 ANSI accreditation and is governed by a Certification Council consisting of radon industry stakeholders who are responsible for credentialing policies and procedures.

National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) – The NRSB provides certification credentials for professional radon testers and mitigators.  NRSB radon certification is formal recognition of professional excellence based on qualifications, high ethical standards, and continuing education in radon services.