Our environmental testing services specializes in the analysis of trace level contaminants of air, mold, radon and water.
AIR QUALITY TESTING
INDOOR AIR QUALITY TESTING
Did you know that the air quality in your home might be more polluted than the air outside? Some agencies report that it could be as much as two to five times worse than outdoor air, and it's a worsening problem.
CALL: 312-270-0500TO FIND OUT MORE ON INDOOR AIR QUALITY TESTING
The chemicals, volatile organic compounds, and mold that are common in housing throughout the United States could have a devastating effect on the health of those who live there. A simple and inexpensive air quality test could tell you what your family breathes in every day.
The Unseen Health Hazards in Your Home
Several factors affect the quality of indoor air. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), allergens from things like dust mites, mold, and chemical residues from furnishings and other items inside the home are just a few. Mold growth can be hazardous to people and the structure of the home. Home furnishings often contain high levels of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, as a recent 6- Minutes report found. Some homes have even been shown to have dangerous levels of toxic chemicals left over from meth labs. In short, the air inside your home could contain a host of hidden dangers.
Constant contact with these dangerous substances can cause a variety of health issues, both short and long term. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include headaches, dizziness, confusion, congestion, throat irritation. You should be especially concerned if these symptoms improve when you leave the house and return when you get home. Long-term exposure has been linked with serious diseases like cancer and COPD.
Poor air quality is most troubling for those with asthma and allergies, two diagnoses that are on the rise. Polluted indoor air can irritate these conditions and trigger attacks. If you or someone you love struggles with either of these conditions, the air quality of your home can have a major impact on health and quality of life.
How to Breathe Easier
The first step to a healthier home is indoor air quality testing. Real Environmental Services has a cost-effective way to test the air quality in your home. We can complete an in-home air quality survey using the latest technologies, including infrared cameras and moisture meters. We will find any hidden dangers.
We want to help you protect your family and your property investments. More and more lending institutions are recommending air quality testing as part of a home sale. We can ensure there are no surprises when you buy or sell your next home by doing a thorough evaluation of the air quality in the home.
CALL: 312-270-0500 TO FIND OUT MORE ON INDOOR AIR QUALITY TESTING.
Prevent & eliminate mold today!
At Real Environmental Testing, we provide mold testing for your home or office. Our indoor air quality testing will ensure that you do not have harmful mold in your air. We also perform meth lab testing in homes to ensure that no illegal activity is taking place in your residence. What we do in our mold inspection: 1) We test for the presence of elevated mold conditions within your indoor environment. 2) We test for the presence of toxic mold within your indoor environment.
It is very important to understand and realize that everyone is exposed to mold throughout their lives. Exposures to mold are virtually inevitable in everyday life because mold of one kind or another is ever-present in the outdoor and indoor environment. Such exposures can be considered “tolerable,” “unavoidable,” or “acceptable” for the majority of healthy people.
Mold grows throughout the natural as well as the built environment. Tiny particles of mold are present in both indoor and outdoor air. Mold produce microscopic cells called “spores” which are extremely tiny and spread easily through the air. This is how they reproduce. Mold spores are present through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are mold that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor environment. The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
Controlling Moisture The most critical step in solving a mold problem is to accurately identify and rectify the moisture sources that allowed the growth to occur. In order to prevent mold from growing, it is imperative that water damaged areas be dried within a 24-48 period. If mold is a problem in the home, the mold must be cleaned up and the excess water or moisture removed. There are many common sources of excess moisture that can contribute to indoor mold growth.
Mold Sampling Methods:
Surface Sampling Surface sampling can be useful for differentiating between mold growth and stains, for identifying the type of mold growth that may be present and, in some instances, identifying signs of mold growth in a general vicinity. Surface sampling can improve the accuracy of the results and interpretation of the inspected environment if sampled correctly, although not required. The following are the different types of surface samples that are commonly used to perform a direct examination of a specific location:
Swab These are very similar to tape samples except for a sterile wipe (looks like a long Q-tip) is used to test an area of suspected mold. Samples obtained using this method can be analyzed using culturing or direct microscopy.
Tape (or tape-lift)
These samples can be collected using clear adhesive tape or packing tape. For microscopic examination of collected particles, adhesive tapes must be of good optical quality and compatible with any stains the analytical laboratory may use on the specimens. Easily removed material is collected by touching the tape gently to a test surface and removing the tape with a steady force.
Bulk These are portions of environmental materials (e.g., settled dust, sections of wall board, pieces of duct lining, carpet segments, or return-air filters) tested to determine if they may contain or be contaminated with biological agents. The objective of such sampling is to collect a portion of material small enough to be transported conveniently and handled easily in the laboratory while still representing the material being sampled. Samples obtained using this method can be analyzed using culturing or direct microscopy.
Air Sampling Methods
Air samples are possibly the most common type of environmental sample that investigators collect to study bioaerosols. The physics of removing particles from the air and the general principles of good sample collection apply to all airborne materials, whether biological or other origin. Therefore, many of the basic principles investigators use to identify and quantify other airborne particulate matter can be adapted to bioaerosol sampling. Common to all aerosol samplers is consideration of collection efficiency.
The following are the two most common forms of air sampling methods:
1. Micro5 The Micro5 Microcell uses spore trap cassettes in conjunction with a portable air pump to rapidly collect airborne aerosols including mold, pollen and other particulates. Air is drawn through a small opening at the top of the cassette and spores are trapped on a sticky surface inside the cassette.
2. Air-O-Cell These are similar to the Micro5 spore trap cassettes in that they are also used in conjunction with portable air pumps. The difference is in the air flow sampling rate. Mold Testing Purposes
Contamination Sources If the source of moisture is not easily detected, mold testing can prove beneficial. Often a roof leak or a plumbing leak can be identified as the source. The difficulty arises when there is an odor present or when an occupant shows signs of mold exposure but no visible mold is discovered.
Scope of Remediation/Restoration The area that is contaminated and the extent of the contamination will determine the scope of the remediation required. Following the completion of the remediation process, mold testing should be performed to obtain clearance.
Some of the primary means of moisture entry into homes and buildings are water leakage (such as roof or plumbing leaks), vapor migration, capillary movement, air infiltration, humidifier use, and inadequate venting of kitchen and bath humidity. Temperature must also be considered because of its role in moisture transfer and condensation. The key is to reduce indoor humidity and identify the molds’ point of origin.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 312-270-0500.
Residential Radon Testing
Every home has radon. We are a planet that has radioactive minerals and elements. The decay chain of these minerals eventually decay into radon, which is a gas, and as thus leaves the interior of the earth.
The gas either escapes to the outside or is pulled into our homes, into our breathing space.
Houses are dynamic and change over time. These changes can cause the radon level in the home to change. The EPA and IEMA recommends retesting your home every two years or after you make a dynamic change (adding insulation, new windows, new exterior doors, siding, finishing a basement).
This is a recommendation that includes homes that currently have an active radon mitigation system or a passive (skeletal) radon resistant new construction vent.
Radon Retests after Mitigation
We provide testing after the mitigation system (radon reduction system) has been installed. After the system installation has been completed you need to wait a minimum of 24 hours before the re-test can begin. Our suggestion is to set up an appointment with our firm once you have confined the mitigation installation date.
- Re-testing is important for several reasons. It holds the warranty on the system (some mitigation companies only allow between 30 and 60 days to complete the re-test. It gives you the new baseline of radon in the building. Mitigation companies do not know the new level of radon upon completion. There are occurrences where the system is not fully reducing the radon level below the Action Level. It would then be necessary to have the mitigation company revisit to correct the system. Radon Testing for
Real Estate Transactions
It is important to know the radon level in the home that you are purchasing. If the radon level is elevated, you can then communicate your concerns prior to occupancy or ownership.
Every home has a level of radon. Whether the home is new construction or an existing home it has its own level, one which may be a different level than other homes in the neighborhood.
Each foundation is required, by the State of Illinois regulating agency of IEMA, to be tested. We measure above each type (basement, slab, crawlspace) of foundation. If a foundation is larger than 2000sf a second monitor will be needed. The testing period is for a minimum of 48 hours. It can run for a longer period of time, just not shorter. The Testing conditions include closed house conditions. We have a pdf available called Radon Testing Protocol, Preparing For Your Radon Test that can be downloaded and printed for reference.
If the home was built with RRNC (Radon Resistant New Construction) Techniques, that is not a guarantee the level of radon will be below the Action Level.
IT IS ALWAYS BEST IF YOU TEST!
- REAL ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES RADON tests are conducted with continuous radon monitors and are performed in accordance with the “Closed Building Conditions” established by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s Division of Nuclear Safety (DNS) guidelines. Our radon monitors are equipped with anti-tampering features and record radon gas concentrations in the air once every hour during the radon measurement period.
- In accordance with DNS regulations, radon measurements are made on each different type of foundation inside a home. For example, a bi-level home with a basement, a crawl space, and a slab-on-grade room requires three monitors. If any of the monitors in a home average at or above the action level of 4.0 pCi/L, action is recommended to reduce radon levels.
Commercial Properties Radon Testing
We are licensed in the measurement and testing of radon gas in commercial buildings!
Caring for your concerns regarding your employees, volunteers, or contractors exposure to radon while at work is why we have pursued our license in the commercial application. It is recommended by the EPA and IEMA that commercial buildings and schools be retested every 5 years.
School Radon Testing
Children spend a large portion of their day in a school building. Awareness of the level of radon is important to one aspect of the buildings indoor air quality. We are licensed in Illinois to perform radon measurements in schools. We want our children to have a minimum amount of radon exposure in their “work” environment as well as their home environment.
Multi-Family dwellings also have radon levels. Building owners and/or property management firms should know the radon levels within their buildings. We are licensed in Illinois to perform radon measurement in Multi-Family dwellings. Whether attached townhomes, condominiums, apartments, we’ll work with the management company, homeowners association, corporate owner, and/or government agency in providing information and communication to all involved in the process.
It is important for everyone to know their home environment radon level. It is one aspect of a healthy indoor air quality that should be known and if necessary addressed.
Daycare Center Radon Testing
In Illinois day care facilities and pre-schools, whether located at an in-home, commercial or religious location, are required to perform a radon test with each license renewal and post the results for adherence to day care licensing requirements. We are licensed in Illinois to perform day care and pre-school radon measurements. We are listed on the DCFS listing of Radon Measurement Professionals as well as the IEMA/DNS website.
We understand the time constraints, the challenges of testing with children present as well as parents and staff always on the move. We are respectful of your needs while insuring that the protocols are met. We will provide you with a certificate of radon level that you can display pursuant to your license requirements, as well as the full report for placement in your permanent record keeping.
Lead water contamination is a growing concern in and around the city of Chicago. A recent study of nearly three hundred homes showed that 1 in 5 homes tested had elevated levels of lead in their drinking water.
Generally speaking water that leaves the treatment source is free of lead. It’s through the many twists and turns that it takes reaching your faucet where contamination can happen.
Lead contamination comes from three likely sources. First is that actual service line from the municipal main line to the home. Thousands of home sin and around the city have lead service lines. They were used in Chicago until 1986 when they were banned by the EPA. Another casualty of the 1986 lead ban was 50/50 solder that was used to make plumbing connections up to that point. This solder can also be a point of contamination. Lastly are the fixtures in the home themselves. Lead was a popular material for home fixtures and some older homes still have these in place.
How can you identify lead water lines? Visual examination: dark matte gray color, is generally what a lead service line looks like. Scrape test; when scraped with a screwdriver lead is soft and will turn shiny. Take a magnet with you. Magnet will stick to steel water lines but not lead. Identifying lead in solder and fixtures is more difficult. The only way of knowing for sure if there are elevated levels of lead in your drinking water is through testing.
If you are in a home presently and want to know what the lead levels are the city will test your home for free. The turn around on that test can be up to 6-8 weeks. This is not practical for a real estate transaction that has a review period of mere days. By partnering with our lab we can get results in as little as five days. Beyond the health ramifications of elevated lead levels, which there are many including brain damage in children, the fiscal impact of replacing service lines can rise into the thousands of dollars very quickly.
When buying a home you need as much information as possible and knowing that you have safe drinking water for your family is an absolute must.
On a private well?
Have concerns over possible contamination from older water lines? Let us do a comprehensive evaluation of the water you and your family are drinking.
If your water comes from your own well, your water is only tested at your request or when your property is sold. The EPA recommends that homeowners with wells should test their water annually or when they suspect a problem.
Even if your water appears clear there can be hidden contaminants that can be harmful to you and your family. Water testing is the only sure way to know that you are drinking good, clean water. Whether the concern is bacteria contamination, lead, and/or nitrate/nitrite levels Real Inspection Services has you covered.
Contact us and one of our experts will work with you to help you with our services!