Indoor Air Quality
Poor office IAQ and Sick Building Syndrome are an increasingly common problem. It makes no difference if it is an old building or a new one. In a 5 year study by the EPA of 10 buildings, (including offices, schools, homes for the elderly and a hospital) indoor air concentrations of volatile organic compounds were found in concentrations of more than 100 times outdoor levels. It has been suggested that as high as 7 out of 10 public buildings could be classified as having sick building syndrome.
It would be impossible to go into all of the different pollutants that make a sick building. The list could begin with the most obvious pollutants of dust or smoke, but also include such things as mold, bacteria, and fungus, from poorly maintained air conditioning and heating systems. Pesticides, cleaning fluids, aerosol sprays, glues and paints fumes, printing inks, and paper dust are all overlooked and a standard occupational hazard. Volatile organic compounds can be found in furniture, glues, solvents, carpets, drapes, deodorizers, copy machine toners and many other common everyday office supplies and furnishings. While the concentrations of these pollutants may not be in excessive levels at any one particular time, the constant exposure to small amounts over an extended period of time can be just as detrimental. Because of their low concentrations they are often overlooked or totally ignored until a severe problem arises.
The consequences of sick building syndrome can be noticed by observing employees who show signs of dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, tightness in the chest, sore throat, eye irritation, dry coughs, drowsiness, headaches, nosebleed and spitting blood. Unfortunately, outdated ventilation codes were designed for older buildings with more natural air leakage and also assumed that most people were healthy to begin with. We are finding these standards to be totally outdated in our modern society.
The results of all of this are low production, lower quality workmanship and low employee moral. It can also result in more sick time and employee turnover. All of this means financial loss to the employer. An even greater burden facing the building owners and/or employer is the increase in the number of lawsuits that are being filed and won by employees affected by sick building syndrome. The time and money spent on litigation and the resulting awards to the complainant can far outweigh the cost of locating and remedying the sick building syndrome problems as soon as complaints are noticed.
Air Purification of Houston has 22 years of experience in solving these problems with the most up to date technologies and equipment. Call for a free estimate.
Give us a call at (713) 466-7555 or Contact Us.