Unidentified chemical drums discovered during a home inspection might indicate an environmental site contamination hazard. Building Indoor Environment Solutions
Indoor Contaminant Detection, Testing, Cleanup, Illness, Symptoms, Diagnosis

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Building environmental hazards: this website provides consumer advice on indoor and building related environmental hazard inspection, detection, remediation. These articles explain building indoor environmental hazard inspection, detection, and remediation procedures giving advice from un-biased experts.

Example topics include explanation, testing and remedy procedures for building hazrds from: asbestos, mold, IAQ, toxic gases, fiberglass, sewage backups, bacterial hazards, lead, radon, UFFI, noise pollution, oil spills, odors & smells, ozone, other potential building indoor contaminants.

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Environmental Hazard Testing, Effects, Remedies, Prevention Articles

Ceramic glaze fragments art school (C) Daniel Friedman

See building environmental topic links listed above at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article or scroll down through the descriptive list of building-related environmental topics discussed at InspectApedia.

The photo at page top shows steel chemical drums that we discovered on a residential property during a home inspection.

Not only did these steel drums raise a question of possible environmental contamination of this site, even worse, they were uphill and close to a stream, raising a still more broad question of area contamination.

At left is a microscope photograph of particles in a dust sample collected in a pottery studio.

See the detailed list of article links listed at the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article for our full list of environmental topics.


  • Arts & Crafts materials, hazards & toxicity: general classes include clays, dyes, glazes, solvents, minerals, pigments, photochemicals. Rossol lists hazardous materials commonly found in arts & crafts workshops, pottery studios, art workshops & art schools form an extensive list.[3]

    Some examples include: ultra fine particles, even in nanoparticle size ranges, of inorganic compounds (antimony, cadmium, copper, chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, titanium, zinc) used in paints, inks, and other colored materials; glazes and enamels, including ceramic glazes containing other metals such as nickel, and rare earths, selenium, vanadium; stained glass workshops offering exposure to arsenic and even uranium, along with soldering fluxes or solders containing barium, boron, lead, lithium, potassium, sodium; dyes including textile dyes (more than 2000); [3][4][5][6][7][8][10][11][12][13][14][16][17]

    Our own forensic lab photo (above-left) illustrates the dominant particles found in a surface dust sample that had collected glazing compound materials from work surfaces in an art school in the Northeastern U.S.[16]
  • ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN BUILDINGS provides a detailed guide to recognizing asbestos-containing materials in buildings and links to in depth articles about individual asbestos-containing building materials
  • Asbestos in ceramic tiles? see CERAMIC TILE, ASBESTOS in?
Asbestos in floor tiles (C) D Friedman Air conditioner duct contamination (C) D Friedman
  • DUCT SYSTEM & DUCT DEFECTS - how to find, clean up or remove, or prevent contamination problems and indoor air quality problems in duct systems: asbestos, fiberglass, flooding, mold, water, and other duct contaminants
  • ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS, Cancer, and Enviro-Scare: the relation of cycles of public fear and property values for Asbestos, UFFI, Radon, EMF, Lead hazards - "Enviro-Scare" - The Normal Curve Cycle of Public Fear of Environmental Issues
  • ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD MEASUREMENT PROCEDURES, a Recommended Electromagnetic Field EMF Survey Protocol and Procedure to document site conditions and to improve measurement reliability for the assessment of potential EMF exposure risks
  • ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS in the WORKPLACE a good NIOSH document on EMFs, links to other NIOSH docs.
  • ENDOCRINE DISRUPTERS at BUILDINGS - where might hormone mimicking chemicals be found in or on buildings or building products?
  • Environmental Illness, support and health info database [this link is under revision--DF 1/06]
  • ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS, New Jersey - Update on New Jersey Environmental Regulations that impact real estate transactions, courtesy of Gregory Brown, P.E.
  • EXTERIORS of BUILDINGS: conditions contributing to moisture, mold, mildew, mites, insects, water entry, ice dam leaks, basement water entry, dampness, and related health concerns for allergy and asthma or other respiratory distress
Fiberglass (C) D Friedman
  • Gases: Toxic gases, indoor exposure levels, testing, identification
    • GAS EXPOSURE LIMITS & STANDARDS - at what level is exposure to a particular gas considered hazardous or toxic?
    • GAS EXPOSURE LIMITS - what are the allowable toxic gas exposure levels? OSHA, NIOSH, etc.
    • VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS - issues of exposure to VOC's and MVOC's from mold
    • TOXIC GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS - what are the effects on humans when exposed to various levels of various gases?
    • AMMONIA GAS exposure effects on humans
    • ARSINE GAS exposure effects on humans
    • BROMINE GAS exposure effects on humans
    • CARBON DIOXIDE GAS exposure effects on humans
    • CARBON MONOXIDE GAS exposure effects on humans, sources, safety, treatment
    • FORMALDEHYDE GAS EXPOSURE LIMITS exposure effects, limits, standards
    • HYDROGEN SULFIDE GAS sources, effects on humans, sources - that rotten egg or sewer smell
    • METHANE GAS SOURCES Methane gas, LP gas, natural gas uses, sources, detection, hazards in & around buildings
    • NITROGEN OXIDES GAS exposure effects on humans
    • OZONE GAS exposure effects on humans
    • PROPYLENE GAS exposure effects on humans
    • SEWER GAS exposure, effects on humans, sources
    • SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES list of sources of sulphur & sewer gas odors in buildings
    • SULFUR DIOXIDE GAS exposure effects on humans
    • TOXIC GAS TEST PROCEDURES for screening non-workplace environments
    • TOXIC GAS TEST SELECTION suggestions for choice of instrument and method
    • INDOOR AIR TESTS for mold, particulates, gases, odors, chemicals
    • PARTICULATE TESTING for house dust, mold, allergens, fiberglass, other problem particles
    • NON-REGULATED PARTICULATES - what exposure standards or limits should we consider
    • ALLERGENS, COMMON INDOOR - how to test for and recognize dust mites, animal allergens, mold, etc.
    • OXYGEN- O2 - gas exposure details effects of exposure at high levels
    • OZONE WARNINGS regarding use of ozone generators for odor removal or mold control
    • NewOZONE HAZARDS - risks to humans when ozone is used indoors

    • Sampling for gases in air such as VOC's, MVOC's, toxic chemicals, and combustion products.
      Unfortunately no single test or tool can detect all possible building contaminants. We use methods and equipment which can test for common contaminants. If the identity of a specific contaminant is known in advance we can also test for a very large number of specific contaminant gases in buildings.

      We use gas sampling equipment provided by the two most reliable companies in the world, Draeger-Safety's detector-tubes and Drager accuro™ bellows pump, the Gastec™ cylinder pump and detector-tube system produced by Gastec or Sensidyne, and we also use Sensidyne's Gilian air pump.

      For broad screening for combustibles and a number of other toxic gases and for leak tracing we also use Amprobe's Tif 8850 and TIF 8800. All of these instruments, their applications, and sensitivities (minimum detectable limits) for specific gases are described in our Gas Sampling Plan online document.
    • Radon Gas U.S. EPA Radon level maps

In these articles we give inspection, testing, and cleanup as well as prevention advice for: Allergens indoor, Animal dander, Asbestos, Carpet dust, Cell Phones, Carbon Monoxide, Disinfectants, Drinking Water, EMF, Electromagnetic Fields, Electrical Hazards, Exteriors of buildings, Fragrances, Fiberglass particles and Fiberglass Insulation, Fiberglass mold contamination, Formaldehyde, Toxic Gases, Hazmat maps, Indoor Air Quality Testing & Improvement, Lead paint, lead in water, MCS, multiple chemical sensitivity, Mold inspection, testing, cleanup, prevention, MVOCs, Odors, Oil Tanks buried/above ground, Pet illness, Rodents mice urine fecals dust, Septic Systems, Sewage spills sewage contamination, Smells & Odors, odor source detection, sewage and septic odors, UFFI or Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation, Water contamination testing and correction.

Continue reading at ENVIRO-SCARE - PUBLIC FEAR CYCLES or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

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ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INDOOR at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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