When buildings make people ill
Healthy indoor air is crucial for people's health and wellbeing, both at home and at their place of work. We spend up to 90% of the day in enclosed spaces. When combined with buildings designed to be increasingly well insulated, emissions from furnishings, cleaning products or building materials may have a major impact on ambient air quality and consequently on the health of the people inside.
argeted testing can usually establish whether so-called “indoor toxins”, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde or biological micro-organisms, may be causing health problems. We will be happy to advise and provide guidance during the evaluation and remediation work.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which is present throughout Switzerland. If radon penetrates buildings and accumulates undetected, this may result in high levels of the gas and the associated harmful health effects.
Compulsory testing is carried out in schools and childcare settings, as well as in workplaces at particular risk (such as those underground). Individuals have a statutory right to have radon levels tested on a voluntary basis, such as at home or at their workplace. Dosimeters are a simple and cost-effective way of measuring levels of radon concentration.
Our radon specialists advise developers and construction professionals on the implementation of preventative safeguards for new builds and on the decontamination work to be undertaken in existing buildings.
Ecosens is certified to carry out air sample testing by the Swiss certification body for construction products (S-Cert AG) and is approved by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) to conduct radon testing.
Ecosens ist durch die Schweizerische Zertifizierungsstelle für Bauprodukte (S-Cert AG) für Luftmessungen zertifiziert und vom Bundesamt für Gesundheit (BAG) als Radonmessstelle anerkannt.
- Reports on ambient air quality and indoor toxins
- Investigation of unpleasant odours
- Investigation of mould and mildew
- Sampling and ambient air testing for formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, CO₂, mould and mildew and other substances
- Hygiene inspection of ventilation systems according to SWKI VA 104-01 (VDI 6022 sheet 1)
- Examination of wood preservative and house dust
- Health assessments and toxicological evaluations
- Workplace ambient air testing
- Analysis of the source of air pollution
- Radon testing in living spaces, schools, childcare settings and workplaces
- Conducting ambient air testing for the Swiss Minergie-ECO certification
- Advice on the selection and use of sustainable, healthy building materials, as well as site monitoring
- Specialist advice when planning decontamination projects, remediation guidance
- Communications advice for authorities, parties involved and the media
- Applied research
Testing the indoor air quality of an office space - Smell investigation and health / toxicological assessment of the indoor air
The offices of an authority in Eastern Switzerland are located in a former industrial building that is over 150 years old. Due to the employment of new staff, the authority rented additional office space in this building. However, an unpleasant, solvent-like and unusual smell was detectable in these facilities and made it impossible to remain there for any prolonged time.
Remediation monitoring of mould remediation at a child-care centre
Ecosens AG was tasked by the administration of a municipality in the Canton of Zurich to carry out final monitoring of the remediation of large-scale mould damage at a child-care centre.
Determining the biocide content in animal specimens - Investigating the arsenic and mercury contamination of animal specimens at Dübendorf Primary School
Until the 1980s, animal specimens were treated with arsenic trioxide or compounds containing mercury to protect them from insects. There is therefore a health hazard from arsenic and mercury to teachers and students in schools as a result of touching the specimens or breathing in contaminated dust.
Naphthalene in indoor air - Risk assessment and development of a remediation concept
An old multi-storey building in a major Swiss city was to be repurposed. When planning the renovation work, one of the participants noticed an unpleasant chemical smell. Chemical analysis of the indoor air showed that it was strongly polluted with naphthalene.
Radon measurements in cantonal vocational schools and secondary schools
Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive ground gas that can penetrate into the building through leaks between building and soil and accumulate, particularly on the lower floors. Radon inhaled in high concentrations over a long time can lead to lung cancer.
Monitoring the formaldehyde remediation of a school building
Increased formaldehyde concentrations in the indoor air were found to be the cause of health problems among teaching staff in a school building in the Canton of Zurich. Formaldehyde is used in the production of synthetic resins, which are in turn used in the production of chipboard and other laminated wood materials.
Study into the contamination of indoor air by emissions from construction materials
When ambient air is tested in new buildings or following renovation works, elevated levels of problematic substances continue to be detected. One of these is the suspected carcinogen methylethyl ketone oxime. Possible sources include construction products such as wooden floor treatments, joint sealants and paint.
Radon testing in schools and childcare settings
After the new Radiological Protection Ordinance came into force on 1 January 2018, radon testing must now be carried out in schools, nurseries and some other childcare settings throughout Switzerland.
Inspection of an apartment affected by mould
The management of an apartment building in the canton of Aargau instructed Ecosens AG to carry out a survey of an apartment affected by mould.