Indoor Air Quality
On average, Canadians spend 90% of their time indoors. Because of this, our indoor air quality is important and we need to make sure buildings are properly ventilated and air-conditioned (HVAC) to prevent any health problems.
Indoor air quality issues can harm everybody’s health. People with allergies, asthma, or lung disease can be significantly affected by poor indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality may harm growth in kids and has been associated with lung disease later in life.
Common signs and symptoms of individuals exposed to poor indoor air contain:
- Shortness of breath, fatigue, and headaches
- Worsening allergy and asthma symptoms
- Cough, sinus congestion, and coughing
- Nose, throat, eye, and skin inflammation
- Nausea and dizziness
You don’t need to suffer from poor air quality. If you find out more about air pollutants, you will know how to eliminate them and how to get rid of them.
Indoor Air Pollutants
Everyone should make nutritious air a goal. To produce good indoor air quality, examine the cause of the pollutant, and draw fresh air (ventilate).
The building you work in is just another indoor environment that can have air quality issues. Indoor air quality in the workplace or office can have a lot of the same indoor air quality issues as at home.
Building materials, cleaning products, tobacco smoke, carpets, and ventilation share the same indoor air quality challenges as the house. However, some indoor air quality issues, like scents and fragrances, auto exhaust, cleaning solvents, and production tasks. These can be more prevalent at the office.
Why Should You Bother About Indoor Air Quality On The Job?
As a worker, your health may be at risk from poor indoor air quality on the job. Bad indoor air quality can make your allergies and asthma more critical. Irritate your eyes, nose, and throat, or could lead to fatigue, nausea, or illness. The health effects of the indicators can impact your well-being, and result in poor work performance and endurance. In the long term, these signs could also result in illness, missed work, and loss of revenue.
When something you breathe in at your office induces asthma or makes your current asthma worse. The problem is known as work-related asthma.
As an employer, it is your liability to ensure a secure and healthful work environment. Inadequate indoor air quality may affect the health of your employees and lead to increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, and possible safety risks. You may avoid higher health claims linked to poor indoor air quality by being pro-active. Speak with your employees today about their air quality concerns.
In the workplace, many things can impact your workers’ lung health, for example:
- Pressed-wood office furniture and carpeting can be a source of formaldehyde.
- Inadequate ventilation may exacerbate allergies and asthma.
- Exposure to tobacco smoke is an established health risk for everybody and can be a severe health hazard to workers with asthma.
Personal care and cleansing products frequently contain scents that can result in severe health problems for many people, particularly for individuals with lung diseases like asthma or COPD.
If you suspect your office has an unhealthy atmosphere, take these three steps:
- Inform your supervisor and building management that there might be an issue. Follow the usual and appropriate measures to alert them, since you might want to record the steps you took after.
- Inform your health-care supplier about your symptoms. Report the signs to your business’s health or safety officer if you have one.
- Work with your manager as they explore the issue. The procedure may take longer than anybody desires because the underlying problems may be tough to identify.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
The report presented here is based on current scientific and technical understanding of the issues showed. Following the advice given won’t necessarily provide complete protection in all situations or against all health hazards that might result from indoor air pollution.
There are three basic approaches to enhance indoor air quality:
Usually, the most efficient way to purify indoor air quality is to reduce individual roots of pollution or to decrease their emissions.
Some sources, like those that include asbestos, can be sealed or included; others, such as gas stoves, can be modified to decrease the number of emissions. In many cases, source control is a more affordable way of preserving indoor air quality than doubling ventilation because raising ventilation can raise energy costs.
Another way to reducing the assemblies of indoor air pollutants in your house is to improve the amount of outside air coming inside.
Most home cooling and heating systems, including forced air heating systems, don’t mechanically bring fresh air into the home. Opening doors and windows, attic fans or operating window. When the weather allows or running a window air conditioner with the fan control open improves the outdoor ventilation rate. Kitchen fans or local bathroom that exhaust directly outdoors remove contaminants from the room where the fan is installed and also increase the outdoor air ventilation rate.
High Levels of Pollutants
It’s especially important to consider as many of these measures as possible. As you’re involved in short term activities that can generate high levels of pollutants. For example, paint stripping, painting, cooking, heating with kerosene heaters, or engaging in maintenance and entertainment activities such as soldering, welding, or sanding. You may also select to do some of these activities outdoors if you can and if the weather allows.
Exceptional designs of new homes are starting to feature mechanical systems that bring outdoor air into the house. Some of these devices involve energy-efficient heat recovery vents (also called air-to-air heat exchangers).
Ventilation and shading can help regulate indoor temperatures. Ventilation also helps eliminate or dilute indoor airborne pollutants arising from indoor sources. This lowers the number of contaminants and enhances indoor air quality (IAQ). Carefully assess using ventilation to reduce indoor air pollutants in which there might be outside sources of contaminants, such as refuse or smoke, nearby.
The introduction of outdoor air is a critical factor in promoting good air quality. Air may enter a house in several unique ways, such as:
- Through natural ventilation, like through doors and windows
- Mechanical methods, like through outside air intakes linked with the ventilation, heating, and air conditioning (HVAC) method
- Infiltration, a procedure by which outside air flows into the house with joints, openings, and cracks in walls, floors and ceilings, and around windows and doorways.
Infiltration Occurs To Some Extents In Most Homes
Real ventilation refers to air movement through open windows and doors. If appropriately utilized, natural ventilation can sometimes help moderate the indoor air temperature. Which might become too hot in houses without air conditioning systems or if brownouts limit or power outages or make using air conditioning impracticable.
Natural ventilation may also enhance indoor air quality by decreasing pollutants that are indoors. Examples of natural ventilation are:
- Opening doors and windows
- Window sealing like shutting the blinds
Most domestic forced air-heating systems and air-conditioning systems don’t bring outdoor air into the home automatically, and infiltration and natural ventilation are relied on to bring outdoor air into the house.
Advanced designs for brand new homes are beginning to put in a mechanical quality that brings outdoor air into the house through the HVAC system. Some of these devices include energy-efficient heat restoration vents to mitigate the expense of heating and to cool this air during the winter and summer.
There are various kinds and sizes of air cleaners on the market. Varying from relatively affordable table-top models to sophisticated and costly whole-house operations. Some air cleaners are highly efficient at particle removal, while some, including most excellent table-top models, are much less so. Air cleaners are usually not meant to remove gaseous pollutants.
The efficiency of an air cleaner based on how well it accumulates pollutants from indoor air (represented as a percentage efficiency rate). How much air it carries during the filtering or cleaning element (described in cubic feet per minute).
A very effective collector with a low air-circulation speed won’t be valid, nor will a cleaner with a high air-circulation rate but a less effective collector. The long-term operation of any air cleaner depends on sustaining it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Power of The Pollutant Source
Another critical factor in defining the efficiency of an air cleaner is the power of the pollutant source. Table-top air cleaners, in particular, may not eliminate adequate amounts of pollutants from active nearby sources. People with a sensitivity to critical sources may notice that air cleaners are helpful only in association with concerted efforts to eliminate the cause.
Within the past few years, there was some publicity implying that houseplants have been shown to decrease levels of some chemicals, in laboratory experiments. There’s currently no sign, though, that a fair number of houseplants eliminate significant quantities of pollutants in homes and offices. Indoor houseplants shouldn’t be over-watered as overly damp soil may promote the growth of microorganisms, which can affect allergic individuals.
Currently, EPA doesn’t recommend using air cleaners to decrease levels of radon and its waste products. The efficiency of these devices is possible because they only partly eliminate radon decay products. Don’t reduce the amount of radon entering the home. EPA plans to do further research on whether air cleaners are or could become, a reliable way of reducing the health risk from radon.