According to a recent survey by WHO, air pollution kills an estimated 7 million people worldwide every year. The WHO data also shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. This has certainly created a huge amount of fear in the minds of people. Moreover, the companies located near such polluted areas are at a higher risk of getting affected.
The concept of outdoor air is dangerous and indoor isn’t is a misconception. Indoor air is much harmful and can cause many uncertainties to the employees.
Corporates have you seen your employees suffering from symptoms such as cough,
chest tightness, fever chills, and muscle aches? You might not have an idea that poor quality of air can lead to such issues. But yeah, the main cause of these problems is the deteriorating quality of air in the premises. This particular phenomenon is called the Sick Building Syndrome which can take a toll on the employees and can cost the company huge losses.
What is Sick Building Syndrome?
The term “sick building syndrome” (SBS) is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone or may be widespread throughout the building. In contrast, the term “building related illness” (BRI) is used when symptoms of diagnosable illness are identified and can be attributed directly to airborne building contaminants.
Indicators of SBS include:
• Building occupants complain of symptoms associated with acute discomfort, e.g., headache; eye, nose, or throat irritation; dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; difficulty in concentrating; fatigue; and sensitivity to odors.
• The cause of the symptoms is not known.
• Most of the complainants report relief soon after
leaving the building.
Causes of Sick Building Syndrome
Inadequate ventilation: Inadequate ventilation, which may also occur if heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems do not effectively distribute air to people in the building, is thought to be an important factor in SBS.
Chemical contaminants from indoor sources: Most indoor air pollution comes from sources inside the building. For example, adhesives, carpeting, upholstery, copy machines, pesticides and cleaning agents, may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), other toxic compounds.
Chemical contaminants from outdoor sources: Pollutants from motor vehicle exhaustscan enter the building through poorly located air intake vents, windows, and other openings. In addition, combustion can enter a nearby garage.
Biological contaminants: Bacteria, molds, pollen, and viruses are types of biological contaminants. These contaminants may breed in stagnant water that has accumulated in ducts, humidifiers and drain pans, or where water has collected on ceiling tiles, carpeting, or insulation.
Solutions to overcome SBS-
Pollutant source removal or modification is an effective approach to resolving an IAQ problem when sources are known and control is feasible. Examples include routine maintenance of HVAC systems, e.g., periodic cleaning or replacement of filters; replacement of water-stained ceiling tile and carpeting; institution of smoking restrictions;
Increasing ventilation rates and air distribution often can be a cost-effective means of reducing indoor pollutant levels. HVAC systems should be designed, at a minimum, to meet ventilation standards in local building codes; however, many systems are not operated or maintained to ensure that these design ventilation rates are provided. In
many buildings, IAQ can be improved by operating the HVAC system to at least its design standard, and to ASHRAE Standard 62-1989 if possible.
Air cleaning can be a useful adjunct to source control and ventilation but has certain limitations. Particle control devices such as the typical furnace filter are inexpensive but do not effectively capture small particles; high-performance air filters capture
the smaller, respirable particles but are relatively expensive to install and operate.
The advantages of air testing cannot be neglected as it can improve the health conditions of the existing employees and increase work productivity.
Air Testing done from an efficient lab can do wonders and can give immediate results. So make sure that you don’t become a victim of poor air quality and affect your work and personal lives.
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