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Testing Your Air for Allergens and Pollutants

Article Image: "Testing Your Air for Allergens and Pollutants"

You sneeze, cough, maybe even wheeze, but you aren’t sure why. Your house seems clean and you don’t see any would-be culprits in the air. What then could be causing your allergy attacks? Many people want to know the answer to this very question. Fortunately, it can now be found using a simple do-it-yourself air quality testing kit.

Testing kits are relatively new items in the do-it-yourself (DIY) industry. For many years, testing your air for allergens and pollutants meant you had to have an expensive professional visit your home, take numerous samples, send you a bill, and then wait for testing results to arrive in the mail. DIY testing kits now allow you to take control of your own environment on your schedule and at an economical cost. All you have to do is complete a simple, user-friendly test, send the kit into a lab for analysis (often, the cost of analysis is included when you purchase the kit), and get accurate, timely, and understandable results. You can use these results to determine the best way to remove airborne pollutants and impurities and restore your environment to healthy.

Testing Kit Types

Indoor air quality testing kits are available in a variety of types, each designed to detect different types of pollutants in your environment. Available types include:

  • Allergen Test Kits - Detect and identify common indoor allergens including pollen, dust mites, mold spores, insect fragments, fibers such as those from fiberglass, and skin cells. Independent Dust Mite Test Kits and Fiberglass Test Kits are also available to pinpoint large concentrations of these allergens.
  • Mold Test Kits - Detect and identify multiple types of airborne mold in vulnerable spots such as basements, bathrooms, crawl spaces, attics, carpeting, and more. Our Toxic Mold Test Kit detects and identifies two of the most common types of toxic mold, which require immediate attention and removal.
  • Formaldehyde Test Kits - Detect and identify harmful concentrations of airborne formaldehyde, which has been declared a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Organic Vapor Test Kits - Detect and identify over 40 organic chemicals and over 50 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in your environment. VOCs and organic chemicals can lead to adverse health effects including headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, liver and kidney damage, and an increased cancer risk.
  • Lead Test Kits - Detect and identify toxic lead on your home's surfaces. Prolonged exposure to lead particles can lead to serious health issues in both children and adults.

How To Use A Test Kit

All of our testing kits use a simple step-by-step process for testing your environment. In most cases, you'll follow these steps:

  1. Open the testing kit and follow the step-by-step instructions for collecting a surface or airborne sample from your home. All materials for collecting your sample(s) are included in the kit.
  2. Once you have taken your sample(s), use the pre-addressed envelope (included) to mail them to the laboratory that will provide analysis screening. Lab analysis fees are included in the price of the kit.
  3. Once the lab has received your samples, a laboratory professional will analyze and process them. Within 7 to 10 business days of analysis, you will receive a detailed written report on your results, identifying the pollutants that were detected in your sample. You'll also receive a summary of recommended actions to take to restore healthy indoor air quality based on your results. A toll-free number is provided by the lab for questions you may have about your results.

Our Lead Testing Kit does not require you to mail in a sample for analysis. This kit provides results in just 30 seconds.

Benefits of Testing Your Air

One of the key benefits of testing your air for pollutants is simply the knowledge gained about the health of your environment. Knowledge provides the information you need to make more educated decisions on how to address airborne pollutants in your home. For example, based on the results you receive from using an allergen test kit, you might decide to invest in an air purifier to remove allergens and help reduce your symptoms. Or results from using a lead test kit may prompt you to hire a lead abatement professional to remove harmful lead hazards from your home. Air quality testing kits can give you the knowledge you need to solve problems in your indoor environment that could ultimately lead to health issues.

Air Quality Monitoring

If you have tested your air for allergens and you understand the allergens you are dealing with, you may want to consider an indoor air quality monitoring system, such as a laser particle counter. Laser particle counters are consumer-grade monitoring devices used for the quick and accurate measurement of airborne particle concentrations. Measuring both small and large particles, these monitors can give you a general idea for the amount of allergens and particles lingering in your air. A large amount may mean it's time to change your air purifier or HVAC system filters, ventilate your indoors to naturally remove particles, or take further action.

How Laser Particle Counters Work

Laser particle counters cycle air through the unit, where small and large particles are counted and displayed. These machines are small and lightweight, allowing you to easily test any area of your home.

The types of small particles counted include:

  • Fine Dust
  • Bacteria
  • Mold
  • Smoke
  • Smog

The types of large particles counted include:

  • Coarse Dust
  • Pollens
  • Larger Bacteria
  • Plant Spores
  • Pet Dander
  • Dust Mite Feces

This information is extremely beneficial to individuals with allergies or asthma because they can specifically monitor their trouble areas. For example, someone with an allergy to pollen will be especially interested in their air’s large particle count. Like allergen testing kits, laser particle counters allow you to accurately assess your indoor air quality and make knowledgeable choices about how best to address any issues that arise.

Still Have Questions?

For more information on specific testing products and ways to improve your indoor environment, review our extensive product listings and other educational materials in our Knowledge Center. Not sure what's best for you? We can take the guess work out of decision-making. Contact our product experts toll free at 1-800-934-9194 for a detailed consultation. Our goal is to help you make your indoor environment healthy and comfortable.

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