How the EPA Defines Vapor Intrusion

The EPA defines vapor intrusion as anytime “a migration of vapor-forming chemicals from any subsurface source into an overlying building.

The problem was first recognized in the 1980s over concerns of radon intrusion, but there are a variety of anthropogenic chemicals (e.g., petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents) in soil, groundwater, and sewers and drain lines that pose health risks.

These include:

  • volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as trichloroethylene and benzene.
  • select semivolatile organic compounds, such as naphthalene.
  • elemental mercury.
  • some polychlorinated biphenyls and pesticides.

Naturally Found in Construction Materials

One factor that complicates detection efforts is the fact that many of the same chemicals that indicate the presence of vapors are naturally and harmlessly present in the construction materials of most buildings. Any radon testing must focus on air samples as well as ground tests.

Vapor Intrusion and Radon Detection are problems for Dayton, Ohio

Obviously, experiencing vapor intrusion in your home or business can be a very scary experience, that’s why we’ve trained our staff in the various aspects of identification and removal.

A clear example of this can be found in March 3, 2016 article from the Dayton Daily News, entitled “Vapor intrusion in Riverside neighborhood traced to Mullins Rubber,” wherein a local area was inundated with vapor intrusion and as the article goes on to say, “To date, more than 470 properties in the Valley Pike neighborhood have been sampled by the EPA for tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, and trichloroethylene, or TCE. Nearly 90 vapor abatement systems have been installed.”

Mullins Rubber is confident they are not the source.

Read more about this case and this issue on their website

If you have concerns regarding Vapor Intrusion do please contact us at your convenience, as at Environmental Doctor, our experience makes the difference.


Vapor Intrusion 101

A Primer On Vapor Intrusion

While exploring a website dedicated to indoor air quality, you might come across a term or two that is unfamiliar. One question that we get from time to time is “what is vapor intrusion?” Simply put, vapor intrusion is the entrance of volatile chemicals into your home (or another building) from contaminated soil or groundwater. These chemicals can include volatile organic compounds, as well as some inorganic substances such as radon, mercury, and hydrogen sulfide. This intrusion, in extreme cases, can lead to threats such as explosion, acute health effects, or simply unpleasant effects such as odors. Most chemical concentrations are low, however, but could still lead to chronic health effects due to long-term exposure.

The EPA has set up a page with more details, at: