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Hidden Health Hazards in Your Business

Thu, Jul 9, 2009

6. Misc.

The air you breathe is hazardous to your health. It’s a sobering thought, but it’s one we’ve gotten accustomed to over the years, doing the best we can to cut down on smog and stop using ozone-harming chemicals. But while most people are aware of the health dangers of outdoor air pollution, you may not realize that air pollution in homes, offices, and schools also can have significant health effects. Recent studies have shown that people are exposed to higher concentrations of air pollution for longer periods of time inside buildings than outside and, shockingly, indoor air pollutant levels may be two to five times higher - occasionally up to one hundred times higher – than outdoors! Take a look at the causes and side effects of indoor air pollution below.

Side effects of indoor air pollutants:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Irritation of the ears, nose, and throat

Sources of indoor air pollution:

  • Combustion sources such as oil, gas, and wood
  • Tobacco
  • Building materials, including asbestos-containing insulation
  • Furnishings, including flooring, wet or damp carpets, and cabinets or furniture made from certain processed wood products
  • Household cleaning and personal care products
  • Central heating and air conditioning equipment that contains microbes and dust
  • Equipment such as printers
  • Underground sources such as radon and pesticides
  • Outdoor air pollution, including pollen, dust, industrial emissions, and vehicle exhaust.

Why indoor air pollution has increased over the years:

  • Construction of more tightly sealed buildings
  • Reduced ventilation rates to save energy
  • Use of synthetic building materials and furnishings
  • Use of chemically formulated personal care products, pesticides, and household cleaners

What you can do:

Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate pollution sources or reduce their emissions. Some sources, such as those containing asbestos, can be sealed or enclosed. Other sources, like gas stoves and furnaces, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. Banning smoking near exits and substituting less toxic cleaning supplies, art materials, and paints also can reduce indoor air pollution.

Improving ventilation is another approach to lowering concentrations of indoor air pollutants. Fans that exhaust to the outdoors can be used in bathrooms, kitchens, laboratories, copy and print rooms, and cleaning-supply storage rooms. Some buildings need additional outdoor air brought in by way of fans, open windows, or improved ventilation systems.

Air purifiers also can improve indoor air quality. Furnaces and portable air cleaners can filter particles out of the air in homes. Gaseous contaminants can be removed by more sophisticated filtering. Air purifiers vary in their ability and range, with commercial air cleaners covering an expanse of 1000 feet and removing biological contaminants. For compact office settings, there are room air filters can be equally as powerful for smaller settings, such as 400 sq. feet, and can come equipped with both HEPA and carbon filters

In the long term, people exposed to indoor air pollution may develop cancer, respiratory diseases, or heart disease. For this reason, it becomes all the more critical to do everything in your ability to safeguard your health and the longevity of your employees. It is also a common known fact that healthier employees are more productive. As such, an investment in the air quality of your employees is an investment in your business.

This post was written by Air Purifier Home. Please visit their website here.

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