One of the biggest issues when people, especially those who don't have a background in environmental health and safety, are taking air samples is knowing where to put the cassette in order to get the most accurate results. This simple issue can have a huge effect on your overall remediation plan, and if done improperly, can put people at risk in the long run. In order to make sure you're getting the most out of your air sampling method, here are some tips for placing air sampling cassettes in a variety of situations.
When sampling for mold, you're going to want to place your cassette where the majority of normal occupants of the building spend most of their time. For example, if the area is a hallway, then placing the cassette at nose level pointing down would be a good idea, since this is how most occupants of this space get their air intake. On the other hand, office spaces most often have sitting people in them, so placing the cassette at a level where your own nose would be while sitting will get you a great representative sample that will allow the lab to return to you an accurate depiction of mold concentrations in the room.
Metals without PPE
Due to the tendency of metals to form dense pockets in the air and on the ground, sampling for airborne metals should be done via a cassette that is pinned to the body. This placement means that your samples come from exactly where the workers are breathing on a typical basis, yielding very accurate results. However, this type of sampling can be tricky, so make sure there is a way to make sure the cassette stays on throughout the course of the day and that the pump doesn't interfere with work activities.
Metals with PPE
If you're sampling for metals in an area where PPE is required, then placing the cassette on an employee's body within the necessary PPE is the best way to get an idea of the air quality that is experienced by an average employee on an average day. For example, if someone doing abrasive blasting were to wear a cassette for a day on the outside of their respirator, than the metals concentrations would be far higher than had he or she worn the cassette on the inside of the respirator. This second option is more accurate and OSHA recommended because it reflects exactly the types and amounts of pollutants the worker is breathing in.
Using these techniques will ensure that you provide the most accurate representation of your work space to the environmental lab. This will, in turn, help the lab show you exactly what you're dealing with in terms of pollutants and toxins, keeping you and your employees safe and your business compliant.