Huntington Beach, CA, October 21st, 2020
Dispatchers at a police headquarters in California were evacuated from the building for a short time after complaints of a strong odor earlier this year. Firefighters responded to their call of a mystery odor in the 911 dispatch area and media reports indicate the odor may have come from recent construction upgrades in the building.
Mystery odors in buildings of all types are quite common, especially when construction or remodeling activities are taking place. Another very common source of mystery odors is due to sewer gas. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services describes sewer gas as a complex mixture of toxic and nontoxic gases that can be present at varying levels depending upon the source. It is formed during the decay of household and industrial waste. Highly toxic components of sewer gas include hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. Sewer gas also contains methane, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides. In addition, chlorine bleaches, industrial solvents and gasoline are frequently present in municipal and privately owned sewage treatment systems.
Quite often odors in a building are just a nuisance, but in some cases, they could potentially be putting building occupants at risk. Depending on the source, makeup and concentration of the mystery odor, exposure could cause respiratory irritation, allergies or could trigger an asthma attack in sensitive individuals with chronic lung disease. At high enough concentrations, exposure to some chemical compounds can cause more serious health concerns.
“If the source of an odor is not readily apparent, air testing can often provide the information needed to identify the root cause of a mystery odor,” said Joseph Frasca, LA Testing’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. “Once the odor is identified or confirmed through testing, it is often possible to develop a strategy to eliminate or mitigate the odor through mechanical means, filtration or changes in the contents and daily practices within the building or home.”
In California, LA Testing is the state’s premier mystery odor testing provider. With multiple laboratories, LA Testing offers a wide range of odor and indoor air quality (IAQ) testing services. They provide all of the sampling supplies needed and also carry monitoring instruments to measure various gases, airborne dust and particulate matter (PM).
To learn more about odor, air and indoor environmental quality testing, or for access to air monitoring instruments and supplies, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: : AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego and Ontario.