Vapor Intrusion - Sick Buildings

What is Vapor Intrusion?

sick buildings, vapor intrusionVapor intrusion is the migration of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) present in contaminated soils or groundwater into the buildings situated above the contamination. Vapor Intrusion is not only a concern for manufacturing or dry cleaning sites themselves, but for surrounding buildings as well. Chemicals leached into soil and groundwater can migrate to surrounding areas, resulting in a plume of chemicals that can enter the indoor air spaces and adversely affect indoor air quality in nearby businesses and private homes. We have installed vapor intrusion systems in residential homes within a plume that affects over 450 structures affected by a nearby 600-acre manufacturing facility!

Volatile organic compounds are chemicals produced and used in the manufacture of fuels, paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants. VOC's are typically industrial solvents, paint thinners, dry cleaning fluid (Trichloroethylene, TCE), Tetrachloroethylene (PCE), fuel, oxygenates (Methyl tert-butyl ether, MTBE), or by-products from chlorination.

Vapor intrusion is an ailment that can affect buildings that we come into contact with on a day to day basis including: residences, businesses, hotels, and even schools. We may not know that our headache could be from hazardous vapors trapped inside the building, or that dizziness or lethargy brought on by a certain area of the building can in fact, be caused by the indoor air quality. "Sick Building Syndrome" is a term used when building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building. A 1984 World Health Organization Committee report suggested that up to 30 percent of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be the subject of excessive complaints related to indoor air quality (IAQ).

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RAdata can help

In this current climate, local communities and developers in the process of land acquisition of environmentally impaired properties or Brownfield sites face unique challenges and significant environmental liabilities. Contaminated vapor intrusion will continue to present human risks on both existing and planned facilities. RAdata, Inc. will use a partnership approach of owners and technical professionals working proactively to provide guidance, strategies and solutions to both minimize health risk and meet all of your business objectives.

RAdata has been successfully assessing Environmental issues and providing remedial solutions since 1984. Our staff is dedicated to quality, integrity and services and handles all of our clients need promptly and professionally. We have established an excellent reputation with people who put their faith and trust in our abilities. We have the expertise understanding of the science of buildings and the mechanics of soil gas migration, to provide total solutions to issues arising from vapor intrusion.

 Impact of Vapor Intrusion 

conference roomVapor intrusion concerns are not simply an artifact of one-time media coverage. Lawsuits claiming adverse health effects as a result of indoor vapor intrusion are becoming more common and are on the rise. Government agencies with increased participation are beginning to enforce requirements regarding development, as well as treatment of existing buildings, on contaminated sites. This current environment requires an experienced professional team that can work hand in hand with real estate developers, government officials, architects, and engineers in assessing potential vapor intrusion risk where it exists and applying measures necessary to assure the production of a safe building environment.

View EDR’s infographic “What Home Owners Need to Know about Vapor Intrusion” (Image File)

View “TCE’s effects on the human body” (Source: Sten Miller / Poughkeepsie Journal) (Image File)

Download and read the US EPA Vapor Intrusion Technical Guidance (PDF)

Download and read the ITRC "Vapor Intrusion Pathway: A Practical Guideline" (PDF)