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New ASTM Practice Will Consistently Evaluate Indoor Air Quality Problems

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A new ASTM International standard will provide a method to consistently address indoor air quality complaints in residential buildings and to guide IAQ investigations in an efficient manner. The standard, D 7297, Practice for Evaluating Residential Indoor Air Quality Concerns, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee D22.05 on Indoor Air, part of ASTM International Committee D22 on Air Quality.
The first modern indoor air quality studies showed that many air pollutants occurred at higher concentrations inside buildings than outdoor conditions would suggest, which indicated the importance of indoor air pollution sources, according to Niren Nagda, a D22 member and the principal investigator for a research project that forms the basis for D 7297. Nagda is also the chair of Subcommittee D22.05.
“Unlike ambient air quality, IAQ is not covered by regulations and problems can be difficult to identify and resolve,” says Nagda. “Residential IAQ problems are especially difficult to resolve, as the contaminants may not be considered to be as immediately threatening as those found in industrial settings.” Nonetheless, Nagda says that contaminants such as carbon monoxide, lead, asbestos and mold, as well as the intrusion of moisture itself, have been problematic in residential settings and are increasingly the subjects of IAQ lawsuits.
According to Nagda, IAQ-based complaints and problems including health symptoms and odors exist in buildings but the frequency of IAQ issues is not known. “Characterization of IAQ concerns and identification of their underlying causes require systematic observations and measurements of the indoor environment, its occupants and contaminant sources,” says Nagda. “This practice provides background and procedures for the investigation of IAQ issues.”
“This practice represents the best current understanding of indoor air quality problems and their causes,” says Nagda. “Thus, users of D 7297 are encouraged to send a summary of their experiences and other relevant feedback to D22.05 to aid in future revisions.”
ASTM International standards are available for purchase from Customer Service (phone: 610/832-9585; or at For further technical information, contact Niren Nagda, Energen Consulting, Inc., Clarksburg, Md. (phone: 301/540-7708; Committee D22 meets Oct. 28-31, 2007, at the October Committee Week in Tampa, Fla. For membership or meeting information, contact George Luciw, manager, Technical Committee Operations, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9710;


Release #7686