21 Mar How’s Your Air?
Here’s something to think about; most people spend over 90 percent of their time indoors where they may be exposed to thousands of airborne pollutants. Kind of makes you want to step outside and go for a walk doesn’t it! Different products and materials indoors release volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and particles into the air that may have a negative effect on your health or result in unacceptable odors. Inadequate ventilation, high temperatures as well as high humidity levels increase concentrations of some pollutants, leading to indoor air pollution levels up to 1000 times higher than those outdoors. Are you ready to move your cubicle outside yet? Surprisingly, the EPA and other public health and environmental organizations view indoor air pollution as one of the greatest risks to human health. Poor indoor air quality can lead to allergies, asthma, reproductive and developmental problems and even cancer.
The economic impact of indoor air pollution is just as alarming. Poor indoor air quality can adversely affect both employee health and productivity. The EPA has estimated these costs to United States businesses to be in the tens of billions of dollars per year. By making improvements in the indoor air quality, business may substantially increase employee morale and productivity and reduce healthcare costs.
Indoor air quality can affect your health in different ways. You can experience health effects from indoor air pollutants soon after exposure or years later. Some immediate effects may be irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, dizziness and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short term and treatable. Indoor air pollution can also trigger symptoms of some diseases, including asthma, dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis soon after exposure. Serious health effects may show up either years after exposure or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, and they can be severely debilitating or fatal.
The best way to reduce indoor air pollution is to control the sources. The toxic emissions from any of these sources are not controlled or are only partially controlled by federal, state or local law. The EPA encourages using low-emitting interior products and building materials certified by Greenguard. At New Life Office our refurbishing process is carried out with a great environmental consciousness. The paint we use is a low VOC, water reducible enamel. We also use a low VOC, formaldehyde-free adhesive when refabricating panels for our refurbished cubicles. This means that there are less compounds being released into your office space making workstations safer for your employees. The three high pressure laminate manufacturers we use are all Greenguard certified, and our Terratex line of fabric is made from 100% recycled materials.
Some other helpful hints to reduce indoor air pollution may include no smoking indoors, airing out the building when new materials are brought in, applying wet product such as paints and adhesives before the installation of dry products such as carpet and ceiling tile, using exhaust fans when cooking, avoiding use of fragranced materials, deodorizers, and aerosol sprays, and storing construction chemicals outside of the building.