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With most of our days spent indoors, be it at home or at the office, indoor air quality is a vital aspect to the well-being of yourself and your employees. Indoor air quality is a general term which refers to the quality of the air and how it affects the health and comfort of people inside the building. By managing the quality of air inside a building you help mitigate short and long term negative effects on an employee’s health.
There are many common pollutants in buildings, especially in industrial areas. These pollutants can negatively impact comfort and health in both the long and short term. Short term health effects present themselves in the form of a cold and can include symptoms such as asthma, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and irritation of the throat, noses and eyes. Long term health effects of poor indoor air quality can include cancer, respiratory diseases and heart disease.
Pollutants Which Cause Poor Air Quality
The first step to understanding indoor air quality and how it can help you is by understanding all the pollutants which can negatively impact you or your employee’s and how it can affect your health. These pollutants can include:
- Molds and Allergens: Mold mildew is commonly associated with moisture in an area and their spores can cause an allergic reaction. Due to the fact that mold grows in moist areas, it is not always easy to spot. Mold could present itself anywhere where there is a large amount of condensation or a plumbing leak.
- Second-Hand Smoke: Second-hand smoke and particulate matter associated with smoking can cause irritations and negatively impact the health of those who don’t smoke.
- Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause nausea, lightheadedness, and even lead to unconsciousness. The most common source of carbon monoxide poisoning inside a building is caused by poor ventilation in a parking garage from vehicles or from furnaces which burn fossil fuels.
- Ozone: Exposure to ozone causes lung irritation and exacerbation of asthma. Ozone can react with indoor pollutants and oils and is typically found in large concentrations at high altitudes. However, by using outdoor air for ventilation which contains elevated concentrations of ozone you could be putting yourself at risk.
- Radon: Radon is a radioactive gas which can be found in certain building materials or rock beneath buildings. Radon gas is a heavy gas and as such it tends to linger near the lower floors of a building. Radon gas has a direct correlation to lung cancer and can be a serious indoor air quality hazard.
- Asbestos Fibers: Asbestos is commonly found in older buildings as it was used in building materials in the past. However, should these building materials be damaged in anyway asbestos fibers can linger in the air of the building. Health risks from asbestos are very severe as long-term exposure can lead to lung cancer.
- Volatile Organic Compounds: These compounds are emitted as gas and can have both short and long term negative effects to your health. Short term effects include eye, throat and nose irritations, fatigue and nausea. Long-term effects include damage to kidneys, liver and central nervous system. Sources of volatile organic compounds include paints, cleaning supplies, disinfectants, wood lacquers, office equipment and building materials.
As you can see, there are plenty of pollutants that can be hard to detect which can be extremely harmful to both your comfort and especially your health. Why risk the productivity and health of you or your employees? This is why you should take a proactive approach against poor indoor air quality by calling in professionals to assess the quality of air in your office or home and remedy any problems which are found. Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric are specialized professionals who offer a variety of services including the testing of indoor air quality as well as solutions to poor indoor air quality.