Improving Indoor Air Quality at Your Workplace
If you have headaches, a sore throat and cold-like symptoms indoors and then feel relief outdoors, chances are you have an indoor air quality problem.
Pests and pesticides, mold and mildew, cigarette smoke or combustion from heating can create poor air quality. Chemicals from building supplies, furnishings and cleaning supplies can also harm health. Unless a work area has a good ventilation system, these pollutants can accumulate to levels that are typically 5-10 times worse than outdoors. What's more, repeated exposure to some indoor air pollutants can lead to chronic illnesses such as cancer.
There are solutions to poor indoor air quality. To improve air at work, when possible:
- Open windows to allow for natural ventilation
- Choose mild, non-toxic or biodegradable cleaning products
- Choose non-toxic pest control methods, especially indoors
- Choose furniture made from solid wood and ground coverings made from natural fibers
- Avoid wall-to-wall synthetic carpet
- Choose mild, non-toxic pest control methods whenever possible
- Make sure high moisture areas are well ventilated to avoid mold and mildew
- Avoid air fresheners, aerosol sprays and artificial fragrance. Consider adopting a "fragrance-free workplace" policy. There are model policies available to get you started.
- Make sure designated smoking areas are located a sufficient distance from doors, windows and ventilation systems
- When remodeling choose low- to no-VOC paint; and
- Discuss any air quality concerns with your office and institute practices and policies that work for you