The Hidden Air Pollution In Your Workplace

Have you ever sat in a meeting under glaring lights and suddenly developed a headache, blurred vision or just started to feel unwell? It probably wasn’t just the fluorescent lights that caused the problem. A new report is shedding light on an issue surrounding poor indoor air quality and the workplace.

Having air conditioning doesn’t help unless the system includes proper filters, as the outdoor air – potentially filled with pollutants – is sucked indoors and circulated around the office. Yet there’s not great awareness of the issue. We all notice air quality in our outdoor environment but less so indoors. Cath Noakes, a professor at the University of Leeds’ School of Civil Engineering who has researched indoor air quality, says the issue has long been overlooked because “it’s a lot less obvious”.

The report goes on to state that although the health impacts of poor outdoor air quality are well known – polluted air has been linked to things such as respiratory tract infections, COPD, and even lung cancer. A two-year study by medical journal The Lancet found that 6.5 million people die prematurely every year as a result of poor air quality. It also hits productivity – a 2014 study discovered that for every 10 micrograms of harmful PM2.5 particulates in the air, the productivity of pear pickers dropped by $0.41 per hour.

However, people believe that they can escape these polluted conditions by retreating indoors, but that’s not the case. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air pollution indoors is often between two and five times greater than outdoors – and can get at its extreme up to 100 times worse than the open air.

“Indoor air contains whatever pollution you have outside, plus whatever you are adding inside a building, like cooking and fumes from cleaning products and building materials,” explains Matthew S Johnson, chief science officer at Airlabs, which installs air filtering technology that removes 95% of air pollutants and harmful gases.

According to The Lancet, 800,000 people die every year due to poor air quality in their workplace. “In addition, ‘sick building syndrome’ can cause headaches and loss of productivity,” Johnson says.

Read full article here



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October 17, 2018

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