A Measure of Combustion-Generated Pollutants in University Laboratories and their Effects on the Indoor Air Quality
Combustion is one of the fundamental processes in learning and teaching in laboratories that leads to the release of gaseous pollutants that are both hazardous and a threat to the environment and health of individuals. This paper sought to measure the amount of combustion pollutants generated and their effects on the indoor air quality of a typical university laboratory using some selected laboratories in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria as a case study. The Combustion pollutants were measured using an IMR 1400C gas analyser. At the same time, its effects were assessed using a well-structured questionnaire designed and administered to hundred and twenty-seven laboratory users who were randomly selected. Data collected from the questionnaires were analysed using computer-based SPSS software. The results revealed that CO during combustion exceeded the ASHRAE 62 and NAAQS limit of 9ppm, reaching up to 45ppm at some points; also, oxygen was observed to be at a critical level of 20.9% and at some point falling below the limit to 20.4%. It was also observed that fatigue (RII: 0.81) is the most prominent symptom of poor indoor air quality during combustion, among other symptoms like coughing and sneezing, dryness and irritation of eyes and throat, sinus congestion, shortness of breath and headache, arranged in the order of intensity. The absence of functional fume hoods, laboratory congestion, and inadequate ventilation systems intensify the discomforting effect of combustion-generated pollutants in laboratories. Thus, it is recommended that fume hoods should be well maintained for functionality and installed in Laboratories where they do not exist (chemistry lab I). Finally, providing adequate ventilation systems in the laboratories would help increase safety in labs for learning and teaching purposes.
Keywords: Combustion Generated Pollutants, Indoor Air Quality, Measurement of Pollutants.
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