People in the US spend up to 90% of their time indoors, explaining in part why the EPA has listed indoor air quality as one of the top five most urgent environmental risks impacting public health. Due to poor air circulation, even in offices with climate control, we are exposed to unsafe levels of naturally occurring irritants, such as dust and mold, harmful cleaning agents and volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde and other banned substances. These can cause problems ranging from allergies to headaches and severe issues with the nervous system. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to combat these issues that we will go over. Here are some easy steps to keep up your air quality.
– Do not allow smoking indoors or within several feet of a building entrance. Secondhand smoke will not dissipate indoors and will build up over time.
– Large doormats, as we’ve discussed before, will help stop unwanted particles from entering the building on people’s shoes.
– Cleaning regularly with vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters, which emit fewer particles back into the air. It’s also a good idea to mop where you can to trap any leftover particles the vacuuming didn’t catch.
– Avoid cleaning products that have any type of “fragrance,” as well as cleaner that use any type of ammonia or chlorine.
– Clean up moisture and other spills immediately to avoid chances of mold and mildew growth.
– Forget air fresheners altogether. This includes plugins, sprays and other scented products that are designed to perfume rather than clean your air. Air fresheners mask bad smells that indicate there is an air quality issue.
– It’s still debatable whether or not indoor plants improve air quality, thought they do increase oxygen levels, which can help improve alertness. They do make a workplace more aesthetically pleasing 🙂
These are some of the easier steps to improving air quality in your workplace. Next time we will discuss ways that are more involved. In the meantime, follow these steps to get in the habit of maintaining better working conditions.