Monday, January 30, 2012

Polluted office air affects workers’ health and productivity

Newly renovated offices can expose workers to high levels
of toxic chemicals.
The indoor air quality in offices can have a profound effect on the well-being, morale and output of office workers.

In fact, a recent study involving office workers in Boston, researchers found that the indoor air in offices exposes workers to potentially dangerous substances emitted by carpets, furniture, paint and other items.

The toxins studied were polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and researchers showed that a high level of PFCs in the office air was reflected in the blood of the people working there.

PFCs are chemicals used in water-repellent coatings on carpet and furniture. They are widespread in the environment and in human beings and scientists are concerned about potential adverse health effects.

Exposure may occur through food, water, indoor air, indoor dust and direct contact with PFC-containing objects.

In the study, the researchers found that concentrations of one PFC called fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH) were 3-5 times higher in the office air than what was previously measured in household air, meaning that office could constitute an important exposure environment.

The higher levels were reflected in the blood of the office workers.

The study also found that workers in newly renovated office buildings are exposed to higher levels of PFCs than workers in older buildings.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The results appeared in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology.

Source: American Chemical Society

Take a breath of fresh air at the office

Maintaining good indoor air quality at the office can be challenging – especially if the existing ventilation system is unable to provide enough fresh air exchanges for a crowded space or if the building has some other IAQ issue.

Apart from regular building maintenance, restricted use of harsh chemicals and ventilation, office and facility managers can help improve the indoor air quality in offices by using simple yet highly effective air cleaners.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners for offices feature a large activated carbon filter, which is the most important filter media for the removal of airborne chemicals, gases, fumes and odors, and they also trap 99.97% of particles at 0.3 microns with their HEPA and pre-filters.
Air cleaners for office printers grab
toxic chemicals and particles at the source.

Optional UV germicidal filtration can help neutralize bacteria, viruses and molds, which may otherwise make the rounds in the office environment.

One of the worst offenders of office IAQ is the technical equipment – the big printers, copiers and other machines. They can emit harmful toxins and ozone, and it is not recommended to sit too close to one.

In fact, these machines should operate in an area that is well ventilated, or they can be outfitted with an air cleaner for office printers that features a customized hood intake. The air cleaner called PrintSafe grabs toxins at the exhaust and draws them through a multistage filtration system containing activated carbon and HEPA.

These air cleaners are built for 24/7 operation, they are energy efficient and they last for a long time, depending on the indoor air quality in the office.

For more information, contact Electrocorp today.

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