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Indoor Air Quality Issues Due to VOCs, Vapor Intrusion and Landfill Gases

IAQ Index™ provides test kits to help identify volatile organic compounds and other gases in homes, schools and businesses.


Today, there are several thousand operational landfills spread across the United States.  Some estimates have put the number of old municipal landfills that are no longer in operations at approximately 10,000 sites.  
Although landfills were once primarily built far from people, many of these landfills are now surrounded by neighborhoods and various forms of commercial development as towns and cities have grown.  Older landfills were not subject to today’s tougher environmental regulations so many have leaked chemicals into the ground and water which over time can spread in a plume.
Homes, offices and schools built above or in the vicinity of these contaminated areas can be subject to vapor intrusion issues as chemicals migrate and emit vapors into these structures.  Other buildings, even near newer landfills, may have issues with strong odors that come from gases formed when buried waste decomposes due to microorganisms or volatiles as the waste changes from a liquid or solid into a gas.
Landfill gases at high concentrations may cause people to experience eye irritation, headaches, nausea, and soreness of the respiratory tract. People with respiratory ailments, such as asthma, can be especially sensitive to these effects.
“Even new building furnishings, carpeting and paints can emit volatile organic compounds that can cause health concerns for building occupants,” reported Bruce Jacobs, CIH, President of IAQ Index.  “To address concerns over gases that can cause indoor air quality problems, IAQ Index has developed a series of test kits that can identify many of these problematic gases and vapors.  IAQ Index has kits that can identify CO, CO2, VOCs, formaldehyde, radon and even mold”
IAQ Index recently sponsored an online video about landfill odors that can be seen at:
To learn more about testing for gases or other indoor air quality (IAQ) contaminants, please visit IAQ Index at, email or call (888) 259-3883.
About IAQ Index
IAQ Index was developed by a Certified Industrial Hygienist with decades of experience dealing with indoor air quality issues.  IAQ Index was developed as a health-based, easy-to-understand, air quality index that is calculated from data generated for various parameters commonly measured during IAQ surveys.  The approach is similar to the EPA’s Air Quality Index that has been used historically to communicate the risks posed by common pollutants in the ambient air.


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