How is Your Company’s Indoor Air Quality?
Sounds like a simple question, with a simple answer. But based on several recent studies which showed various levels of contaminants in many company facilities, it may be time to take a serious look at what the air quality is at your place of business. Going Green does include minimizing or eliminating any inherent health danger.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): “In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in already the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people use approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. consequently, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.”
Over the past 20 years, many states, such as Florida, Pennsylvania, NY, California and others have passed legislation creating their own Indoor Clean Air Acts. These acts referred chiefly to tobacco smoking and the proven unhealthy effects of second hand smoke. Decades prior, federal legislation banned the use of asbestos in building products and rule in paints. Based upon their health endangerment, these factors were of course, the most obvious. But there nevertheless remains other less obvious factors that can affect air quality.
Many of us are aware of mold, which has serious health implications, and can typically be controlled by adjusting temperature and humidity. However, already the smallest unnoticed water leak can ultimately cause mold to multiply. Also, emissions from your building’s HVAC source must be consistently observed. While the EPA encourages proper ventilation, this method simply shifts the emissions to our air. A healthy green strategy would be to eliminate or drastically reduce all emissions.
Indoor air quality is also greatly affected by Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are gases emitted by a wide range of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, long-lasting markers, and photographic solutions. Little testing has been done on the health effects of these gases, and virtually no testing on the effects of combinations of these gases, which is apparent in most business facilities. The best advice is to seek out and use products with No or Low VOCs.
A green facility or business can not only create a healthier workplace, but also reduce employee sick days and turnover adding to more financial benefits for your company.