What’s your office’s air pollution level?
Friday, May 24, 2019
You probably figure you don't need to worry about air pollution unless you're sitting in traffic.
Think again — the way you go about daily tasks in your office can actually create unhealthy levels of harmful air, putting you and your team at risk for respiratory diseases and other health issues. What can you do to stop the problem? Start here:
A study from Portland University found that “green” rooftops — those planted with vegetation — may cut down on indoor air pollution within office buildings because plants cut down on how much ozone makes its way inside. Talk to building management about this simple and inexpensive healthy fix.
Utilize portable air purifiers in your office space.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that these easy-to-use devices can lower indoor air pollution significantly. Air purifiers are inexpensive (under $70 apiece on average), can be used in multiples to cover large office space dimensions and are easy to use.
Avoid cleaning sprays when sprucing up your work area.
A study from the American Thoracic Society found that using any disinfecting or cleansing spray product a couple of times per week can, over time, cause a decline in lung function comparable to smoking.
Use liquid and powder cleansers around your desk instead and wear a mask when you clean to avoid any airborne irritation to your mucus membranes.
Open a window in your break room.
Researchers from the University of Colorado found that simply boiling water on a stove can create the same volatile chemical compounds that create air pollution in a city environment.
If you have a kitchen setup, inform your staff about this so they never cook in an unventilated area.
Gained a few pounds lately? Ask your cleaning staff to check the products they use for the chemicals cadmium and tributyltin.
Not only are these chemicals bad for the air you breathe, but they're "obesogens" — exposure to them can change the body's ability to burn calories effectively, according to the European Endocrine Society. Ask your staff to switch to organic products without these ingredients.
Get your building tested for radon.
This odorless gas pollutes your home silently and can raise your lung cancer risk. A malfunctioning heating system can cause radon levels to rise.
Subsequently, in the summer, central air may circulate radon through your workspace. Get yours serviced if necessary.
Take smog seriously.
On days where air pollution levels are high, don't open windows in small workstation areas — it's worth it to crank up the air conditioning a little instead.
Not only will this action protect your employees' health, it will show them you care to do so. That way, everyone benefits!
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