Air Quality Study

I got an email asking where the BMH air quality study is.  It is referenced in the Deliberative postbb of Feb 8, or you can simply click here.  Note that this study did not test for asbestos, either airborne or as surface contaminant.

This entry was posted in Brewster Hall/Town Office. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Air Quality Study

  1. I have heard from more than one person that the subject test on BMH air quality was done in a somewhat abnormal manner. (doors open for some time prior to actual tests being conducted to permit fresh air to circulate). I would chip in to have a impromptu test conducted by a third party testing lab. Anyone else interested?

  2. wolfeblog says:

    The report, which was done by a third party testing lab with a sound reputation, says that the doors and windows were open when they arrived. Note that it was June, so that doesn’t necessarily indicate any effort to influence the results. You should read the report.

  3. Tom Bickford says:


    Your admissions of error have only muddied the water for me as a lay person. What does this report say in a nut shell.


  4. Tom Bickford says:

    Given there are no set guidelines for acceptable levels of mold in a building isn’t this air quality test a bit of a diversion? Without a set standard you can’t say whether the mold in a building poses a health hazard or not. A mold test really doesn’t seem tell us anything about the actual safety or lack of safety of working in the building.

    On the other hand the state of New Hampshire has established indoor air standards for its buildings that measure the items below. Is there an such an air quality test for BMH?

    Carbon Dioxide.
    Carbon Monoxide.

    Tom Bickford

  5. wolfeblog says:

    The report does show that the levels of airborne mold as tested were higher outside the building than inside. Mr. Murray said that and I said he was wrong, so I had to correct that. It’s not about what the level of airborne mold means.

    That said, my reason for contradicting was that my clear recollection was that the report detailed significant mold infestations in the building and recommended remediation. So what I was left with was that there was a mold problem. The statements at the Deliberative session were made to imply, if not prove, that there was no mold problem.

    In my mind, the most significant mold related statement in the report was that the level of airborne mold will increase greatly if the moisture is removed without first removing the mold. I don’t see where mold remediation is planned.

    Relative to other airborne or surface contaminants, I don’t see where the building was ever tested for asbestos.

    The place has no ventilation system, but it is almost certainly leaky enough to sustain a healthy air change rate, especially considering the relatively low occupancy. The IAQ company did some spot CO2 checks that made no sense at all. CO2 itself is not generally considered a contaminant. It is at a background level of just under 400 ppm pretty much everywhere on the planet Earth. It is probably the most widely and accurately studied atmospheric component for the last 25 years. By this study, Wolfeboro is the epicenter of global warming as our outdoor levels were reported to be 975 ppm. I have recorded outdoor levels about Wolfeboro and find that they are consistent with global averages.

    Nevertheless, the statements in the report that an indoor reading should not be more than 650 ppm above the outdoor is correct. CO2 itself is not harmful even at levels 10 times what they measured. The reason it is measured at all is to determine if the space is adequately ventilated. An inadequately ventilated space will have a CO2 level about 650 ppm above ambient (outside). In the case of BMH, the tests indicate about 300 ppm less than outside. That would indicate that the inhabitants take in CO2 and exhale oxygen, like the plants in a greenhouse. How anybody could put those observations in a report without suspecting a major error is beyond me.

    If you assume that outside levels are actually around 400 ppm, then Levels of CO2 inside that are only 250 ppm or so above that indicates more than adequate ventilation, or in this case, open windows and doors, and numerous air leaks.

    So my guess about the other contaminants that you mention are:

    Radon – probably some in the basement, but sufficiently diluted upstairs by the drafty enclosure.

    Formaldehyde – I don’t see any significant source and once again the air change should be enough to sufficiently dilute.

    Carbon Monoxide – there are no combustion appliances that I am aware of, and the air change is plenty to dilute the random auto exhaust that gets in.

    Asbestos – Anybody’s guess. I’ve been in the basement area where it is, and it’s definitely not contained. The floor above is not an air barrier, so I would guess that over the years, a lot of fibers have mad etheir way upstairs. It is probably not a significant airborne contaminant, but might be significant as a surface contaminant.

    Look, it’s a crappy place to work, and I wouldn’t want anyone from my family spending a lot of time in there. But this whole environmental thing is a rat hole and a distraction from the reality that long term the place is not viable without a major investment to restore and rehabilitate.

  6. wolfeblog says:


    The one thing nobody is talking about is lead. We have a pretty thorough study that details extensive LBP throughout the building, but especially on the windows – you know, the ones that the Friends were scraping away at a few years ago with no regard for the regulations concerning LBP.

    The proposed work includes working on those windows, no doubt while people are working in the building. I believe regulations call for sealing off the area, worker protection, and cleanup with HEPA vacuums. Anybody that doesn’t have to be there would be well advised to stay away.


  7. Tom Bickford says:

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to write and provide an alternative to the Granite State news. I especially appreciate you taking the time to do the research needed for the quality of writing you’re providing to the few hundred of us that pay attention to local government. Its incredibly helpful to have the other side of the story when talking with folks who are just as concerned, but can’t keep as close an eye on things as the few hundred loyalist and loyal dissenters do.

Comments are closed.