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A Guide to Vapor Intrusion
Wed, 30/09/15 – 2:28 | Comments Off

Environmental issues always become the concern of public because it is closely related to health. Thus, if you want to stay healthy, it is suggested that you grasp a better understanding about environmental processes that may affect your overall health; one of the environmental processes is vapor intrusion. It is an event where gases and vapors from contaminated groundwater and soil seep into indoor air through the leaks in foundations or other ground-based spaces. The air contamination can create health problems.

The process begins with petroleum products or volatile chemicals leak from underground storage tanks or spilled on the ground. The products create vapors, or gases, that can move from the subsurface to buildings (industrial or commercial buildings, residences, other structures). Besides petroleum products or volatile chemicals, there are other products that can cause vapor intrusion including diesel fuel, gasoline, industrial de-greasers, and dry cleaning solvents. The gases move through the ground and seep through the cracks in basement floors, walls, or other openings. The intrusion is becoming a hot concern because the gases can reach to a condition where the health of the people in the affected buildings is at risk.

There are many contaminants that cause vapor intrusion. The chemicals include volatile chemicals which are the chemicals that evaporate and create vapors. The volatile chemicals include volatile organic compounds such as contaminated groundwater, soil, or other buried waste. Besides, there are also petroleum products that cause the intrusion such as benzene, Ethylbenzene, Toluene, and Xylene.

To reach the surface of the ground and contaminate the air, the vapors must fulfill some conditions. The first, the vapors move to the subsurface near the building openings, cracks, and permeable materials. And to support the moving, there should be forces that drive it such as wind or stack effects. The last is the negative pressure in the building that is created by air conditioning systems, heating system, or ventilation. This environmental process can affect all types of building, commercial or residential. The buildings can be slab-on-grade foundations, basements, pier foundations).

There are many health problems resulted by vapor intrusion with the type and level of harmfulness including the type of chemical present, the length of exposure, the level of the chemical found, a person’s overall health, and others. At severe stages, the process can include respiratory and eye irritation, nausea, and headaches. Even, it can also create risks of some cancers and other acute diseases.

Vapor intrusion is not something that anybody can fix. Thus, it is important to be sensitive about what is happening around your buildings. If you can see signs of the intrusion in the indoor air, you are advised to call a professional that understands about the process deeply. This way, you can avoid further damage that the gas intrusion cause while keeping you and your building safe now and then. For further information about this issue, please contact a local service or agent that primarily deals with the gas intrusion.

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