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Entreprises et bureaux

Entreprises et bureaux
Businesses and offices

Indoor pollution in businesses and offices

Maintaining good employees health

In the workplace, in companies and office spaces, indoor air quality is an important aspect to measure and control. These spaces bring together a number of employees, who work together in enclosed spaces and host stakeholders or clients. 

An Environment Health Perspective study by Harvard University shows that the impact of CO2 on a professional can lead to a decrease in cognitive performance and concentration.

In which spaces is it important to measure the air quality and which solutions can be implemented?

The context

The pandemic linked to Covid-19 that we have lived for the past 2 years was a difficult time for all. Since then, we have learned that there is a high contamination risk, we will need to adapt to many more pandemics and viral transmissions. 

Our behaviour, barrier gestures, reflexes adapt to this new situation and we should reduce contaminations beyond using masks and getting vaccinated. 

Thanks to vaccination, a great number of lives were saved. However, it is not enough. Unvaccinated people can be re-infected and they are always at risk.

According to the Professor Flahault, epidemiologist and director of the Global Health Institute from the Geneva University, no measure is completely effective to block the pandemic. And, for those under 60 years old, vaccinated and without risk of comorbidity the risk of hospitalisation or death is very low, the risk of long Covid still exists.

Still according to the Professor, it is important to apply the gestures "barriers" but also that improving the quality of indoor air is a public health emergency.

"95 % of contaminations happen in closed spaces, badly ventilated" (Source : Ouest France). As well as our homes as the establishments receiving the public (ERP) classrooms and offices.

Aeration is the first of the good practices, but this action is not always possible sometimes for technical reasons or in summer because of the heat and in winter because of the cold.

What is considered a good air quality in the workplace ?

An office space is supposed to be a comfortable working environment which leads to great productivity. It needs to be exempted from contaminants such as fine particles, volatile organic compounds (VOC), chemical products, moulds, odors.

In the case of a mediocre air quality, health problems can appear like eye and respiratory irritation, exacerbated pathologies such as asthma or certain respiratory allergies.

An air purifier could eliminate, from the atmosphere, many pollutants, fine and ultra-fine particles (PM 2.5) and VOC.

In the pollutants and fine particles, we can find:

  • Dusts, fiberglass particles, fine particles from the outside that enter the premises and confine,
  • Vapors and VOCs, produced by printers, photocopiers, computers as well as volatile organic compounds produced by carpets, wall and floor coverings, furniture,
  • VOCs released by cleaning products, disinfectants, glues, paints and solvents,
  • Airborne organisms such as dust mites from cushions, fabrics, armchairs,
  • Fungi, molds and bacteria, all microbial contaminants generated by stagnant water in tanks, condensate recovery tanks,
  • Gases such as ozone, which is very common because it is produced by photocopiers and electric motors,
  • Gases and odors such as tobacco smoke, perfumes, body odors and food odors...

The consequences of a bad indoor air quality

Breathing poor air quality can cause symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, sinus congestion, coughing and sneezing. Indoor air pollution can also cause eye problems (irritation), dry skin, dizziness and nausea.

All these symptoms will lead to an increase in absenteeism in the company, a decrease in cognitive functions (concentration, comprehension, collaboration), and compromise the return to the office of employees.

Lastly, if the air is not continuously renewed, summer and winter, the risks of cross-transmission between people carrying viruses or bacteria and their colleagues are high.

The Quality of Life at Work or QWL is an important commitment of companies and social partners. It allows to associate the concern of the working conditions for the employees with the performances. It facilitates the return to work and the reduction of absenteeism.

Health issues linked to air quality and the solutions

When occupants experience undesirable effects on their health, directly related to the time spent in the company's offices, it is called "sick-building syndrome" or SBS (Source: Cairn Info). In the most serious cases, the reaction to certain chemical substances can be reminiscent of the Multiple Chemical Sensitivity syndrome or MCS.

Air purifiers have the ability to purify the atmosphere and renew the air by filtering it of fine particles and volatile organic compounds.

AIR ET SANTÉ offers a range of air purifiers with mechanical filtration and medical quality. Equipped with HEPA 13 or HEPA 14 filters, active carbon filters and controlled by their air quality detectors, they clean the air from all biological and chemical pollutants. They also offer pollutant removal options through ionizers and photocatalysis.

These devices can be adapted to each user's requirements, from the small office of 10 m², to the meeting room of 120 m², to the company restaurant of more than 500 m².

The air purifier proves its effectiveness in the: