How Clean is the Air in Your Home and Workplace?

Posted by in What if...?

When we talk about air quality, most of us think of environmental pollutants in the outdoors. However, the average person spends 90 per cent of their life indoors. How clean is the air inside your home and workplace?

Ventilation is key

In the 1980s, new buildings began to increase insulation in order to make buildings more energy efficient and cheaper to heat. However, this can sometimes seriously reduce indoor air exchange leading to dangerous increases in interior pollutants and CO2.

Building materials

Many of our current building materials release chemicals and have serious negative health impacts. They can release gases like formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds into the air, making ventilation even more vital. These materials include insulation, flooring, glues, solvents, paints, and carpets.

Here’s a look at some of the consequences of poor ventilation to your employees:

  • High levels of carbon dioxide and low levels of oxygen can cause fatigue and reduce cognitive function, affecting your employees’ ability to concentrate.
  • Build up of chemical and biological contaminants that cause poor indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality can lead to employees suffering from headaches, fatigue, hypersensitivity and allergies, sinus congestion dizziness, shortness of breath, coughing and nausea.
  • Extreme temperature in the office causes fatigue, discomfort and distraction and can increase accidents in the workplace as a result.
  • Low humidity can cause a dry throat, dry skin and static electricity build-up. High humidity contributes to bacterial and mould growth. This can make your employees very sick.
  • Excessive and irritating workplace odours cause discomfort and affect concentration. For example, ammonia and chlorine.
  • Poor ventilation causes Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). The symptoms include irritation of eyes, nose and throat, headaches, fatigue, and a susceptibility to colds and flu. Symptoms tend to be less severe away from the workplace.