VOCs, Volatile Organic compounds are responsible for the odor of scents and perfumes as well as pollutants. VOCs play an important role in communication between animals and plants, e.g., attractants for pollinators, protection from predation, and even inter-plant interactions. Some VOCs are dangerous to human health or cause harm to the environment. Anthropogenic VOCs are regulated by law, especially indoors, where concentrations are the highest. Most VOCs are not acutely toxic, but may have long-term chronic health effects.
Concentrations of VOCs in indoor air may be 2 to 5 times greater than in outdoor air, sometimes far greater. During certain activities, indoor levels of VOCs may reach 1,000 times that of the outside air. Studies have shown that emissions of individual VOC species are not that high in an indoor environment, but the total concentration of all VOCs (TVOC) indoors can be up to five times higher than that of outdoor levels.
Respiratory, allergic, or immune effects in infants or children are associated with man-made VOCs and other indoor or outdoor air pollutants. Some VOCs, such as styrene and limonene, can react with nitrogen oxides or with ozone to produce new oxidation products and secondary aerosols, which can cause sensory irritation symptoms.
Health effects include eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, vomiting, nose bleeding, fatigue, dizziness.
Does The M3 System® Help Control VOCs
Accurate measurements conducted in a typical M3 System® building installation utilizing an Automated Logic Building Environmental Control System conclusively proved that while the system was in operation values under 200 ppb were seen all day long dropping as low as 50 ppb. When the system was off, levels climbed to 400-800 ppb. The trend showed the particle count has been below 30 micro/grams per cubic feet all the time. It has gone as low as 5-6 micro/grams per cubic feet. When the system was turned off for any period of time the particle count climbed above 50 micro/grams per cubic feet.
Non-Viable and Non-Volatile Particulates
Non-Viable and Non-Volatile particulates are outside the realm of Fungi, Bacteria, Viruses and Yeasts but can pose serious health hazards. The main entryway into the human body is through respiration. Commonly found items in enclosed spaces include skin cells, carbon particulates, pollen, starch particles, fiberglass particles and others.
"Particulate matter," also known as particle pollution or PM, is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particle pollution is made up of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles.
The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. EPA is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.
Size, Shape and Solubility Matter
The size of the particle is the main determinant of where in the respiratory tract the particle will come to rest when inhaled. Larger particles are generally filtered in the nose and throat via cilia and mucus, but particulate matter smaller than about 10 micrometers, can settle in the bronchi and lungs and cause health problems. The 10-micrometer size does not represent a strict boundary between respirable and non-respirable particles but has been agreed upon for monitoring of airborne particulate matter by most regulatory agencies. Because of their small size, particles on the order of 10 micrometers or less (coarse particulate matter, PM10) can penetrate the deepest part of the lungs such as the bronchioles or alveoli. When asthmatics are exposed to these conditions it can trigger bronchoconstriction.
Similarly, so called fine particulate matter (PM2.5), tends to penetrate into the gas exchange regions of the lung (alveolus), and very small particles (ultrafine particulate matter, PM0.1) may pass through the lungs to affect other organs.
The smallest particles, less than 100 nanometers (nanoparticles), may be even more damaging to the cardiovascular system. Nanoparticles can pass through cell membranes and migrate into other organs, including the brain.
Does the M3 System® Help Control Non-Viable and Non-Volatile Particulates
Recent M3 System®installations have been accurately measured to reduce items such as skin cells, carbon particulates and starch particles in excess of 99.99%. Fiberglass particulates have been measured at zero in post installation M3 System®projects.
The M3 System® continues to exceed all design and engineering parameters on a regular basis for both pathogen control and critical VOC, Non-Viable and Non-Volatile Particulate reduction and control, both which can be serious health hazards under the right conditions.