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EHA : Yearkbook 2009
EHA YEARBOOK 2009 CETEC Professional Scientific Solutions Most people are familiar with the “new” car smell or the “new or renovated” building odour. This situation arises due to the release of chemicals (emissions) from various materials. Over time the emissions will decline, but never reduce to zero. While the odour m ay only be a nuisance to most occupants, consideration should be given to toxicological effects that m ay also arise. Less commonly considered are the effects of chemical emissions from everyday products, despite the increased likelihood of contact. CETEC has encountered situations such as: n Forklift drivers becoming “light-headed” during the unloading of a shipping container containing imported footwear. The footwear, manufactured using various glues and varnishes, emitted volatile chemicals over time and this accumulated in the container during transit; n Workers suffering headaches during the unpacking of boxed items and in the subsequent assembly of the item. This was caused by the volatile organic compounds released by the printing inks. The fumes built up in the item wrapping and packing box; and n A complaint of irritation arising from exposure to a textile-based object. The object was stored for a period of time, in the immediate vicinity of cleaning activities. This eventually led to the textile component of the object absorbing the cleaning chemicals. Later when the object was used, there was the resultant irritation incident as the now absorbed chemicals were re-released. While characterising pollutants in the indoor air is important, just as critical, is the assessment of the potential sources of the pollution. CETEC uses a number of approaches to determine the chemical contaminants in indoor air, whether they be formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, semi- volatile organic compounds or other chemicals. Environmental chambers offer a standard way in which to evaluate the chemicals emitted from a material or product under controlled conditions. The identification of the chemicals through methods such as Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) can allow the assignment of potential material source to an indoor air environmental health effect. Remediating the effects of chemical emissions from materials and products can involve either a source removal approach and/or ventilation strategy. So the next time you wonder ‘what’s that smell?’ consider the potential toxicological effects of the source and remember CETEC can provide services to better understand the source of the odour and its control. Established in 1987, CETEC provide professional scientific solutions with a major focus on Indoor Environment Quality for occupant health, wellbeing and productivity. What's that odour?
Annual Review and Yearbook 2008
EHA Yearbook 2010