Air quality is often overlooked

Kevin Mathers educates South Enders about indoor air quality. - Photo courtesy of Kevin Mathers
Kevin Mathers educates South Enders about indoor air quality.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Kevin Mathers

As Kevin Mathers moves from room to room with a small, nondescript gizmo in his hands, it does not appear as if he’s on a mission for a healthier South Whidbey. But he is.

Mathers is measuring air quality.

“Indoor air is what most of us get most of. Shouldn’t we be getting the best air that we can?” he asked.

Island Indoor Air Quality, a new business in Freeland, works to provide the best possible indoor air for South Enders.

The company tests air quality and specializes in fungal and microbial intrusion, contamination and mold re-mediation.

Air samplings identify the levels of contaminants in a given area, he said. They also confirm whether or not an area is safe for people.

Bad air quality can cause health problems such as allergies, respiratory problems, inflammation or infections, Mathers said. On Whidbey Island mold is often an issue, Mathers explained.

Floods, lots of rain and houses that are only used for only part of the year are some of the reasons.

Often, air conditioner systems are also a cause for trouble.

“Air conditioning units collect moisture. If there is any mold it is spread through the system from room to room,” he said.

Mathers said building materials such as asbestos make people sick, but people often don’t know that they breathe bad air until health issues arise.

Mathers is trained to identify contaminated areas in a house. He also works with a laboratory for analysis.

If needed he will clean or remove affected areas such as drywall, he said.

Knowing what is floating around in the air can also protect home- owners from legal ramifications.

Lawsuits are piling up across the country concerning air quality, Mathers said. Knowing the condition of a home can help eliminate or identify liability when a house is sold.

Mathers recommends that people should also have the air tested after repair jobs, for instance, when asbestos is removed. Testing ensures that a job was done completely and protects the con -tractor.

“It’s to verify if the job has been done,” he said.

The importance of air quality is just starting to creep into people’s awareness, Mathers said.

“I have decided to be a voice in getting out the message to my neighbors on Whidbey Island and in the Northwest about the need for indoor air quality,” Mathers said.

Mathers has been an island resident for 25 years. Previously, he served the community as Black Hole Chimney Service doing cleanings, repairs and construction. Recently, he pursued education in the air quality field.

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