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Contamination Index  What Does It Mean?

After testing your indoor air using Enthalpy’s standard Home Air Check testing kit you may be wondering, what’s next? After sending your sample back to the lab for analysis you will soon receive a report back with your air quality results. The Home Air Check analysis includes a CI section in the report. The contamination index tool highlights the types of air-contaminating products and materials present in the tested space.

Things to Keep in Mind While Reviewing the Contamination Index

The Contamination Index severity classifications begin at normal and progress through moderate, elevated, high, and severe. These severity classifications are determined using a combination of statistical data gathered from thousands of samples and health information specific to each contamination index category. They are NOT related to safety.

Each CI category has its own severity scale values; no two categories have the same scale. Categories such as PVC cement and methylene chloride rise to higher severity rating at a lower concentration level than categories such as odorants and fragrances or coatings. This is based on what is seen in a typical indoor space.

It is possible for a category listed in one source group (Lifestyle, Building, Mixed) to belong to another source group. For example, the coatings category is in the building source group because the largest contribution is typically paint on the walls. But paint cans stored in the basement or garage could be considered part of the lifestyle sources group. Always consider all possible sources for a particular contamination index category.

Since there are many sources of VOCs, spaces can often become re-contaminated (experience excess VOCs) after the initial sources have been removed. Remodeling improvements and new products are regularly affecting the space. Occupants should take note of this fact, and view indoor air quality as a continuous improvement process.

Three Main Source Groups in the Contamination Index

Each contamination index is comprised of three main source groups: Lifestyle Sources, Building- Related Sources, and Mixed Building and Lifestyle Sources. Lifestyle Sources are those that the occupants bring in or use during activities in the space, these can usually be readily identified and remedied.

Building Related Sources are typically part of the structure of the building, these are often related to recent renovations or construction in the home. It is common that these will decrease substantially in the month following the application of these products, ventilating the area and bringing in fresh air will help to dissipate these VOCs. Mixed Building and Lifestyle sources could belong to either category, investigation may be necessary to determine which category is most likely.

Now that we have identified the different source groups in the contamination index, Which types of products are included in each source group?

View the video to identify products and materials in each source group.

If you have any questions regarding the Contamination Index, please reach out via phone or email.

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