Improving air quality at your place of work

Have you ever caught a cold from someone on an airplane? Has your child got the flu from a classmate? Have you felt lightheaded or nauseous when using strong cleaning products? Have you experienced headache or congestion in a freshly painted or carpeted room?

IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) is a factor in all these situations, where germs or pollutants transmitted through the air cause various kinds of physical distress. Air pollutants generally affect the respiratory system first, but they may also irritate the eyes or be absorbed through the skin and affect other organs. Some pollutants are even stored in body tissues, creating the potential for adverse health effects over time. People who work in buildings with poor IAQ frequently experience health problems that the World Health Organization broadly defines as “Sick Building Syndrome.

Plants at work

Put plants to work for office greening.
Did you know that some common indoor plants can remove pollutants from the air? Plants such as peace lilies, spider plants, golden pathos, and various types of ferns and philodendrons have been shown to filter certain chemicals from indoor air. Be sure to empty standing water from plant containers, to prevent allergy issues.

Outside Air

Depending on what’s outside them, it may be healthier to keep windows closed. Check to make sure your office gets fresh air from a mechanical ventilation system.

Air purifier and vacuum cleaner.

Using commercially purchased air filters in your office, even for a few weeks, can significantly improve several measures of health, including levels of inflammation and blood vessel function; and use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter; vacuuming without one increases particulate pollution.