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The Importance of Indoor Environmental Quality for California’s Hotel Industry


Millions of tourists visit California each year and most stay at one of the thousands of lodging establishments that serve visitors from across the world. Tourism is a huge part of the state’s economy and generates billions of dollars in direct travel spending and helps to fill local and state tax coffers. 

An increasing number of visitors to California are concerned about the indoor environmental quality of the hotels they choose for their business trips or families’ vacations.  No matter the budget or location, the indoor environmental quality of the facility is important for the health and wellbeing of both guests and employees.

As is the case with all buildings, hotels and motels can face a myriad of potential indoor environmental quality challenges.  Some of the more common items include the following:

•    Mold – Water leaks, flooding and elevated humidity levels are a few of the reasons why mold could begin to grow and cause health concerns.
•    VOCs – Cleaning products, pesticides, building materials and furnishing are just a few examples of materials that could cause high levels of VOCs in the air.
•    Allergens – Mold, bacteria, pet dander, insects, rodents, dust mites and latex are all common allergens that could cause allergic reactions in people.
•    Legionella – Cooling towers in commercial buildings have been known to harbor Legionella bacteria, the cause of Legionnaires’ disease. Other sources include plumbing systems, fountains, hot tubs and decorative pools.
•    Pesticides & Cleaning Chemicals – These materials can release chemicals into the air and leave behind potentially dangerous residues.
•    Environmental Tobacco Smoke – Although smoking is now regulated in many places and is limited to specific areas, secondhand smoke is a known carcinogen and can leave irritating odors.
•    Pools – In recent years, recreational water illness (RWI) outbreaks of acute gastrointestinal illness have been increasing.  Fecal matter in pools can harbor such pathogens as E. coli and other microbes.
•    Gyms – Hotels with gyms may provide an environment conducive for the spread of community acquired infections as sweaty bodies come into direct contact with shared equipment, mats and towels.
•    Polluted Exterior Air - Building air intakes or open hotel room windows near busy highways, dumpsters and loading areas can cause air quality issues indoors.
•    Radon – Although a guest staying for just a night or two on the first few floors of a hotel may have few radon concerns, employees who spend year after year working at the property could be at risk.
•    Asbestos & Lead – Some older properties still contain these materials which can become a hazard as they age or are disturbed.
•    Bed bugs – In recent years, bed bugs have been found even in the fanciest hotels.  These blood sucking insects can cause itching, loss of sleep and could even hitch a ride back to a guest’s home.

“Offering a healthy place to stay is not only important for tourists, but also the thousands of workers in California who are part of the lodging industry,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Garden Grove facility.  “To help ensure a healthy indoor environment in California’s hotels, LA Testing offers monitoring equipment, sampling supplies and testing services to identify particulates, chemicals and microbial contaminants.”  

LA Testing has sponsored an educational video about hotels, motels and indoor environmental quality that can be seen at:

To learn more about indoor environmental quality or other health and safety issues, please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794.  

About LA Testing

LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other substances.  In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states.  LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Garden Grove, San Leandro and San Diego.


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