Most of a person’s life is spent in school or in the workplace. Let’s explore the effects of poor indoor air quality in school or at work…
Whether in an aging building or in a newly constructed building, indoor air quality affects our health, productivity, concentration. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Poor indoor air quality can impact the comfort and health of students and staff, which in turn, can affect concentration, attendance and student performance. In addition, if schools fail to respond promptly to poor Indoor Air Quality, students and staff are at an increased risk of short-term health problems, such as fatigue and nausea, as well as long-term problems like asthma.”
Poor indoor air quality is caused by a wide range of contaminants, including:
- mold and mold spores,
- volatile organic compounds,
- animal dander,
- carbon monoxide,
- carbon dioxide
- asbestos fibers,
- lead dust,
- bacteria and viruses,
- pollen, and
- dust mites.
Signs and situations that health complaints may be originating from poor indoor air quality are:
- recent dust and debris were created by renovations,
- the aging building is not maintained, allowing for leaks or air drafts,
- working with new materials of equipment,
- use of new chemicals for work or cleaning,
- new animals are introduced to the environment,
- smoking in or near the building is permitted, and/or
- new construction and furnishings are releasing high levels of volatile organic compounds.
Signs of “sick building syndrome” would be:
- health complaints associated with specific times of the day or week,
- similar problems being experienced by multiple occupants, and/or
- the health concerns end when the occupants leave the building.
A plan to remedy the causes behind these health affects must be addressed at the source. Eliminate the source, eliminate the health issues. Just like a toothache is a symptom of a tooth cavity, contamination is a symptom cause by a source or building problem. One good example is that mold is a symptom of a moisture problem. Address the moisture problem, remediate the mold and return the environment to a healthy environment for the occupants.