If you’re like 70% of Americans, then chances are that you work in an office setting. Considering how much time you spend there, it stands to reason that any health problems you’re experiencing could be related to that environment. As you sit in your cubicle or at your desk, pecking away at your keyboard and performing your routine daily tasks, a silent culprit could be wreaking havoc on your overall health: poor indoor air quality. Indeed, many office environments have less than perfect indoor air quality; breathing it in for about forty hours per week can do a real number on employees’ health.
A Study Spotlights Indoor Air Quality in the Office
A study that was conducted by researchers in Finland confirms what many people already suspect: The indoor air quality of the office can have a major impact on one’s health. The findings of the study, which were published in the January 2010 issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, show that employees in offices with poor indoor air quality can suffer from several different symptoms including:
- burning, itching eyes
- stuffy, irritated, runny nose
The study, which took a look at 11,154 office workers in Finland, also discovered that women were more likely to experience health issues than men. What causes poor indoor air quality in the office? Often, poor ventilation is one of the main problems. In an effort to conserve as much energy as possible, many offices have windows that are kept sealed shut and a lot of insulation. Those features help keep airborne pollutants and other contaminants sealed into a building, allowing people to breathe them in more frequently.
What the Study Means
If you work in an office, then this study surely holds your interest. In fact, chances are that you can confirm and agree with many of the study’s findings, all on your own. For forty hours per week, you are working in an environment where you are being exposed to higher-than-usual concentrations of indoor air pollutants. Being exposed to those irritants day in and day out can slowly but surely chip away at your overall health and wellbeing. If you’ve never done so before, it might be a good idea to start keeping track of when you experience your own symptoms; chances are, you’ll notice that they frequently occur during – or right after – work.
Since you don’t own the building that you work in, you’re going to have to do your best to petition human resources or the management of your company for assistance with the matter. As noted above, keeping a log of when you are experiencing your various symptoms is a great place to start. Once you’ve confirmed your suspicions, bring that log with you and go speak with human resources. Let them know that you feel the indoor air quality of your office is harming you. You may be surprised and find out that something gets done.
What Can Your Office Do?
There are many different things that an office can do to help improve the indoor air quality for its workers; they include:
- Smoking Policy – Maintaining and enforcing a strict policy about smoking in the workplace is imperative. People should not only be prohibited from smoking inside, they should be prohibited from smoking within 100 feet or so of the building.
- Food Storage – If food is kept on the premises, it must be stored in such a way that it doesn’t contaminate the air or cause unpleasant odors.
- Garbage – Garbage must be disposed of properly on a regular basis. It should also be kept away from where people have to work.
- Water Spills – In order to prevent mold, water spills should be cleaned up immediately and the source of any leaks should be handled immediately.
- HEPA Air Purifiers – One of the most efficient and effective ways to clean the air in an office is with a HEPA based air purifier. These machines pull up to 99.97% of airborne particulates from the air. More and more offices are implementing them to help keep personnel healthy and happy.
With any luck, your petition to the management at your office will be heeded and things will be done to improve the indoor air quality there. By getting a HEPA air purifier from your office can improve the purity of its air dramatically. In turn, workers will stay healthier and are more likely to enjoy benefits like allergy and sinus relief.
Clean Air Plus is a veteran and family owned small business. We represent the leading manufacturers in HEPA filtration including Austin Air, IQAir, Amaircare, Oransi and Airpura. Shop online or call one of our friendly experts at 888.247.1147. We'll be happy to help.