In recent years, indoor air quality (IAQ) has become a concern for everyone both within the home and in the workplace. Modern buildings have become more airtight and there is now significant interest in minimising the amount of air exchanged in order to conserve both energy and heat. As ventilation rates have been reduced, the levels of contaminates have risen. IAQ is a term which refers to air quality within buildings where and has an effect on health and also the ‘comfort’ of occupants.
Contaminates include hazardous or noxious gases, particulates, viruses and microbial contaminants (bacteria, mould) circulated within indoor environments. There is no doubt that issues such as particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) in the air can be correlated with complaints from personnel inside buildings thus contributing to reduced performance and productivity.
Source Control, filtration and ventilation used to reduce contaminate levels are the primary methods available for improving indoor air quality in most buildings.
Airborne chemical fumes and vapours are commonly known as volatile organic compounds (VOC’s).
’Volatile’ means the ability for these chemicals to evaporate, or easily get into the air at normal room temperatures. There may be hundreds of individual VOC’s in indoor air at any time. Some produce objectionable malodours or are very pungent; however, many have no noticeable odour at all.
VOC’s are found and emitted by a wide range of products (numbering in the thousands) including a range of common products such as furniture, paint, drywall, bedding, paint strippers, adhesives, solvents, upholstery and other textiles, photocopier toners, office supplies, electronic equipment, dry cleaned clothing and a large range of building materials.
One of the more common VOC’s found in the home, office, workplace and schools etc. is Formaldehyde, Also frequently found are; Toluene, Xylenes, Methylene, Chloride, Vinyl Chloride, Decane, Butoxyethanol, Perchloroethylene, Isopentane, Styrene and Limonene.
Many VOC’s are known irritants, and can cause unpleasant immediate symptoms such as headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation and dizziness. At high concentrations, some VOC’s are toxic and long term exposure may lead to chronic disease or cancer.
Continued industrialisation and developments in new products and processes invariably result in increased levels of contaminates that present new challenges and stricter regulations are being considered and proposed as a consequence.
The Health & Safety Executive believe that in many industries, individuals can be exposed to numerous hazardous substances. These can lead to various health issues that may be long term and dangerous - such as respiratory problems, headaches, occupational asthma and skin irritations.
As part of the UK COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health), The Health & Safety Executive clearly state that it is an offence to expose an employee to hazardous fumes and substances at work. New Health and Safety laws are now in place.
Most businesses use substances and products that are mixtures of compounds. Some processes also create substances which could cause harm to employees, contractors, customers etc. Maintaining safe, clean indoor air quality is part of providing control measures to reduce harm to health.
Every year thousands of people are made ill by hazardous substances at work, contracting lung disease such as asthma, cancer and skin diseases such as dermatitis. The cost to the individuals, industry and society is very significant.
Infections at work and poor indoor air quality are usually associated with, or are more common, in certain industries such as laboratories (microbiology) and healthcare. However poor IAQ or IAP (Indoor Air Pollution) can, and does affect people in every sector.
“Sick Building Syndrome”, for example, is now becoming a common complaint which has several unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue, eye and nose irritations, headaches etc. which could be due to poor indoor air quality.
Filtaire Air Purifiers can significantly improve indoor air quality - filtering very fine dust and potentially dangerous fumes and vapours. Our contaminate specific carbons can be much more efficient and produce faster results and benefits than a general 'universal' product.
Simple to use and economic to operate they are used to provide clean air in hospitals, laboratories, the police, beauty establishments, Colleges and schools and many more applications.
Please do contact us for any help or advice regarding indoor air quality concerns, as we have a wealth of experience and specialist sources available to provide an effective ‘Solution’