Principal Scientist of May Indoor Air Investigations, LLC (Tyngsborough, MA), Jeffrey C. May has been investigating indoor air quality problems in residential buildings, office spaces and schools for over 25 years, and has collected and examined by microscopy more than 35,000 air and dust samples. A nationally recognized speaker, he has given presentations to the Boston Society of Architects, Harvard School of Public Health, the EPA, Massachusetts General Hospital, Journal of Light Construction’s annual conference, and American Lung Association, among others. He has been a regular presenter at IAQA conferences since 2001.
Jeff’s memberships include IAQA, ASHRAE, and NE-AIHA. A former Adjunct Professor in the Department of Work Environment at U MA Lowell and former member of the National Board of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Jeff is on the Board of the Massachusetts Association of the Chemically Injured. Author of four books on IAQ, including My House is Killing Me! and The Mold Survival Guide, Jeff is licensed in FL and in NH as a mold assessor, is a Certified Microbial Consultant (American Council for Accredited Certification), and a certified Indoor Air Quality Professional (Association of Energy Engineers). He holds a B.A. (chemistry) from Columbia and an M.A. (organic chemistry) from Harvard.
MOLD IN THE MECHANICALS
Exposure to bioaerosol from microbial growth in mechanical equipment is a leading cause of sick-building symptoms. Case studies with accompanying slides will illustrate how and why microbial growth occurs on fan coils and in fibrous lining material, blower cabinets, and ducts (including those installed in crawl spaces). Ductboard and flexible ducts present particular problems when it comes to remediation. Discussion will also cover microbial growth found in heat pumps, HRV systems, central humidification systems, portable humidifiers, window or wall air conditioning units, and on baseboard heating convectors. Attendees will learn how inadequately installed and/or poorly maintained mechanical equipment can cause health symptoms among building occupants, and how proper filtration in fan coils can prevent most microbial growth. Certain mechanical equipment and maintenance practices will be recommended, and some so-called “solutions” (such as UV air irradiation) will be discouraged.
UNDER-RECOGNIZED SOURCES OF INDOOR BIOAEROSOL
A majority of 300 homes in which occupants suffered allergy or asthma symptoms had wall-to-wall carpeting, finished basements, and central or window air conditioning; 80% of 600 sick houses contained elevated levels of mold spores. Exposures to mold spores are a relatively well-accepted cause of health symptoms, but this presentation will examine under-recognized sources of indoor bioaerosol, including some that are surprisingly simple to find (such as microbial growth in refrigerator drip trays); others that are more obscure (such as allergenic dander and mold growth on baseboard heating convectors; mold growth in fiberglass insulation and bedding; bird bloom from feather-filled bedding and furniture; and mold growth between hardwood flooring and the subfloor); and still others that are surprising (allergenic fecal material from microarthropods other than house-dust mites, such as book lice; and wool dander from deteriorating wool carpets). Air sampling alone is not effective in finding potential sources of indoor air quality problems and source sampling is often needed. This presentation will help attendees better anticipate these potential sources and focus their surface sampling accordingly. Discussion is based on case studies and includes numerous slides to illustrate building conditions.
SAMPLE “OUTSIDE THE BOX”
Sampling techniques can sharpen an IAQ investigator’s ability to identify IAQ-problem sources, many of which are surprising. This presentation will examine the importance of surface sampling and review some of the unique sampling techniques developed by the speaker over his 25 plus years of experience in the field. These techniques include “pat” sampling, using Petri dishes in new ways, obtaining samples from an inaccessible A/C plenum, utilizing propane gas or a radon fan to detect sewer gas leaks and an exhaust fan to find odor sources, and testing at outlets to find evidence of mold within a wall cavity. Useful tools will be reviewed, including a TIF 8800 combustible gas detector, an extension mirror, and yes – even a small squirt bottle and a paper towel.
IAQ INVESTIGATIONS: REVELATIONS FROM CASE STUDIES OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES
Sources of IAQ problems in residential buildings can be myriad and unpredictable, and can differ depending on occupants’ life styles and maintenance practices, and on building design. This presentation will review some of the sources of IAQ problems most often found in residential properties, and will illustrate these sources with practical examples from the field. The presentation will include examples from over ten case studies, photographs of issues of concern, and photomicrographs from many of the samples. Time will be set aside for questions and answers. IAQ professionals who investigate and remediate residential IAQ problems are the target audience for this presentation.
Other presentations include:
- Fungal Colonization of Fiberglass Ceiling Insulation
- Moisture and Leak Investigations
- Investigating Odors
- Myths and Scams
- Impact of Pets and Pests on IAQ
- The Role of the Industrial Hygienist – A Perspective
- Cool Air and Indoor Fresh Air are Killing Us: Who is Negligent?
- Are You Missing Something? Another Perspective on IAQ
- Problems and Solutions: Indoor Air Quality in New England Residential Construction
- Does Sampling for Mold Tell the Truth?
- Indoor Allergy Assessment: Why? What? Where?
- Healthy Home Tips
- Under-Recognized Sources of Bioaerosol
- Indoor Allergy Assessments
- Investigating Strange Building Odors