What is Vapor Intrusion?

Vapor intrusion is what happens when chemicals migrate from a subsurface into overlying residential or commercial buildings. Some chemicals that may cause harmful vapor intrusion include:

  • Organic compounds
  • Certain semi-volatile organic compounds
  • Elemental mercury
  • Hydrogen sulfide

How Does Vapor Intrusion Occur?

To affect indoor air quality in a home or commercial space, vapor intrusion must have three components:

  • A source
  • An inhabited residential or commercial building
  • A clear pathway from the source of the soil contamination to the inhabitants.

What Are Some Effects of Soil Contamination on Homeowners and Commercial Tenants?

Low indoor air quality should be a source of major concern for homeowners, property owners, and those who reside in homes or businesses. Soil contamination and groundwater contamination are an existing problem, and can affect indoor air quality for potentially millions of Americans.

At times the soil contamination and groundwater contamination may cause immediate regulatory action from concerned officials in some cases, and drive the need for vapor intrusion remediation in others.

Unfortunately, indoor air quality is not often tested in normal soil contamination and groundwater contamination tests. This may be due to a lack of knowledge, lessened sense of urgency, and cost considerations.