First District Health Unit (FDHU) has the ability to inspect residential & public buildings for
Air quality complaints
FDHU has capabilities to test for:
Description of Air Quality contaminants:
· Ammonia - has a sharp, penetrating odor. It is the active product of “smelling salts,” the compound can quickly revive the faint of heart and light of head. Ammonia is a toxic and corrosive gas that seeks out moisture. If breathed in, it can damage the lungs and cause respiratory problems. In severe cases it can cause death. It is used in industry for plastics and explosives as well as fertilizer in agriculture.
- Carbon Monoxide - is a colorless, practically odorless, and tasteless gas or liquid. It results from incomplete oxidation of carbon in combustion. It can be produced by natural gas or propane appliances and internal combustion engines (automobile). At low concentrations it produces fatigue in healthy people and chest pain in people with heart disease. At higher concentrations, impaired vision and coordination; headaches; dizziness; confusion; nausea. Can cause flu-like symptoms that clear up after leaving home. Fatal at very high concentrations.
- Formaldehyde - is a colorless, strong-smelling gas. It is used as a preservative in medical laboratories and mortuaries. It is found in other products such as chemicals, particleboard, household products, glues, permanent press fabrics, paper product coatings, fiberboard, and plywood. It is also widely used as an industrial fungicide, germicide, and disinfectant. Exposure can irritate eyes, nose, and throat and can make you cough and wheeze. Subsequent exposure may cause severe allergic reactions of the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract.
· Hydrogen sulfide - is a colorless, flammable gas under normal conditions. It is commonly known as sewer gas. Exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas can occur in the home and in the workplace. In the home, exposure may occur because of faulty plumbing. Sewer drains that have dry traps can allow hydrogen sulfide gas to enter the home. Exposure to low concentrations can cause eye irritation, a sore throat and cough, shortness of breath and fluid in the lungs. These symptoms usually go away in a few weeks after exposure ends. Long-term, low- level exposure may result in fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, irritability, poor memory and dizziness.
· Radon - is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, radioactive gas that is found in soil and rocks. When it accumulates in a home or structure it can be a health hazard. North Dakota is a state, which has potentially high radon levels. The only way to determine if there is a problem is to measure the radon level. FDHU has radon measuring kits available to the public at no charge. Kits are sent to a certified lab for analysis.
· Molds - are a respiratory irritant that is in the environment naturally. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
· Nuisance Odors - on site investigations will be made whenever other odors are reported.
First District Health Unit contact information:
E-mail: click on contact us at the top of the page
For more information about air quality, log on to one of the following websites.
Air Quality: www.epa.gov/iaq/