A study of indoor air quality investigations in B.C health authorities
Canadians spend 90 percent of their lifetime indoors and are currently aware that poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can negatively impact human health. If there are any IAQ problems, the Health Authorities will conduct IAQ investigations to respond to the complainants or resolve the conflicts. An online survey to Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) and specialists was used to understand the frequencies that B.C. Health Authorities conduct IAQ investigations, the locations Health Authorities encountered most IAQ queries, the different types of pollutants that IAQ instruments are used for and the preference for instruments chosen. Five common indoor air pollutants, such as mould, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radon, particulate matters (PMs), CO and CO2, were chosen and the Chi-Square test was used to analyze the data in this study. This study showed that most EHOs had never conducted IAQ investigations since they had worked in the B. C Health Authorities. Mould problems between landlord and tenant were EHOs mostly encountered. The study found that EHOs referred to other agencies or consultants when they received complaints. The data showed that the method of managing IAQ problems was associated with the Health Authorities because few EHOs from Vancouver Coastal Health indicated they had used equipment to conduct IAQ investigations. The mostly encountered location and frequency of conducting radon investigations were significantly associated with the Health Authorities due to an on-going project in Northern Authority. Most EHOs and specialists had shown that they educated public regarding to the information of IAQ instead of monitoring the IAQ pollutants. The results of this study indicate that EHOs did not get involved in IAQ investigations often and also showed that mould problems were the mostly encountered IAQ problems between the Health Authorities. The most important role of EHOs and specialists in this area is to educate public to solve or prevent IAQ problems.