Most Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors and many of those hours are spent in an office environment. The effects of dry air and indoor air pollution can range from sinus aggravation and chronic coughing to the bringing on of headaches and exacerbating asthma. The United State Environmental Protection Agency states many office buildings have poor indoor air quality (IAQ) due to inadequately designed, maintained and operated ventilation systems.
“The office environment has really slipped through the cracks in terms of regulations,” says Gina M. Solomon, M.D., M.P.H., and Senior Scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “There aren’t any laws or inspections regulating indoor air quality except in very industrial environments.”
So, what can you do to improve air quality in the workplace?
By clearing the polluted path to fresh air, business owners can find a more productive staff, lower the time spent taking sick days, and present a healthier visit for clients and patients spending time in your office. Here are three ways to help rid your office environment of indoor air pollution and dry air.
Maintain Moisture and Humidity
An easy way to boost air quality is by adding a humidifier and air purifier to your space. Moisture added to the air of office and waiting rooms filters the environment of particles like dirt, dust, pollen, and dust mites. However, the importance of maintaining and cleaning your unit is just as important as adding it to your building. Mold, fungi, and bacteria hang out in moist and dirty humidifier filters. Try the Venta Airwasher, which is a humidifier and an airwasher. Particles in the air are drawn in and pass through a wet rotating disk stack rather than through a filter. Cleaning consists of recommends rinsing or wiping out the lower housing unit (every 10-14 days) where pollutants gather. The Venta units also maintain a consistent humidity level for your unique environment.
Capturing elements and particles like carbon monoxide, pollen, and dust may affect indoor air quality as air is taken from the outside into a building’s ventilation system. The proper use and maintenance of filters trap pollutants before they ever affect employees and visitors to your business. The EPA offers a Guide to Indoor Air Quality for office building occupants, which promotes maintaining a healthy and productive workplace.
Be wary of furniture and carpeting
Did you know some furniture made of particleboard and plywood contains formaldehyde? Prolonged exposed to items that contain formaldehyde can result in nausea, difficulty breathing, fatigue and a burning sensation in the eyes and throat according to the EPA. Making purposeful purchases before introducing unknown elements into your office environment is key. The National Safety Council recommends trying products that are labeled with phenol formaldehyde, which are low-emitting products or buying alternative products made from solid wood and metal.
A partnership between building owners, businesses, and employees is crucial when creating a healthy environment in which to work. By making wise choices in regards to the physical elements in an office and introducing systems that filter out harmful pollutants, you will be on your way to better indoor air quality.