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(205) 934-2487

Air and Water Monitoring

Overview: The UAB Department of Environmental Health and Safety can test air and water for levels of substances regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). Results of this testing are compared to applicable guidelines.

Air Monitoring: The most commonly measured agents are waste anesthetic gases, xylene, formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, solvents, dust, silica, lead, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen dioxide, explosive gases, oxygen, and carbon monoxide. Assessment of exposure to other chemical as well as physical agents such as noise, total illumination and non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation and may be requested through EH&S.

If you are concerned that you may be over-exposed to a chemical agent, or you regularly work with significant amounts of a hazardous chemical, contact EH&S and we can determine your need for air monitoring. The use of adequate ventilation and proper work practices will greatly reduce the risk of exposure to these materials.

Water Testing: The City of Birmingham Water Works supplies all water on campus. The quality of the water is consistently well within the Environmental Protection Agency's guidelines for drinking water. However, if there is concern that a chemical contaminant is present in the water, EH&S can arrange for sample collection and testing. In-house testing will screen for pH, chlorine, odor, hardness and visible particulates. The Water Works and the Jefferson County Health Department can test drinking water for bacterial contamination.

The most frequent complaints are particulates and discoloration of the water due to rust in the pipes. Rust is not harmful to health, but may make the water look and taste unappetizing. Particulates will damage coffee makers and fixture valves. Call maintenance if large amounts of particulates are present in your water. Excessive amounts of air in water will make it look cloudy immediately after it comes from the faucet. Let the water stand for one or two minutes, if the cloudiness goes away – it is dissolved air, if it remains – it is suspended particles.

Occasionally, water may have a noticeable chlorine odor. If this is a problem, let the water stand for a few hours or use a charcoal filter pitcher or water bottle to remove the chlorine. The chlorine is added by the Water Works to kill bacteria and is not harmful.

Contact Person: David Hagan
Phone number: 934-2487, 934-1515
Email address: jdhagan@uab.edu
OSHA Tables of Air Contaminants and Permissible Exposure Limits:
OSHA Table Z-1 Limits for Air Contaminants
OSHA Table Z-2 Substances