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Indoor pollution in the workplace, tips

Whether it is in a private home or in a professional environment, the quality of indoor air is very important in enclosed spaces where a more or less important number of employees are gathered in the same area. The impacts of indoor pollution can have a considerable harmful effect on health and a cost on the employee ( time off work) and the company. The Environment Health Perspective study by Harvard University shows that the impact of CO2 on a worker can lead to a decrease in cognitive performance and concentration.

Pollutants sources

Un a professionnal environment, the sources of pollution vary and are numerous :

  • Outdoor air : Coming from the urban agglomeration, the polluted air in the city center rushes into offices, doctors' consulting rooms, etc.
  • Construction materials : This pollution comes from decorative objects such as paints, glues, wood panels and floor coverings.
  • Industrial process : If there is waste burning, the existence of solvents or the use of chemicals, this represents a risk to your health.
  • Chemical pollutants : There can be found the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).
  • Habits and lifestyle : This refers to smoking or cigarette smoke, ambient scents (essential oils, incense, candles).
  • Humidity : which is not a source of pollution in itself but participates in the creation of molds, responsible for allergies and breathing difficulties.
  • Result of the bad functioning of a ventilation, VMC or heating device.

What are the consequences on workers' health ?

Regardless of the individual, indoor pollution has a negative impact on employees' health and the company's economy. 

But how can we detect the effects of pollution on our health ?

Fine particles, invisible to the naked eye, once inhaled can have harmful effects on the workers' health, the most obvious of which are lack of concentration, headaches and fatigue, and respiratory irritation. Others are cancerous (formaldehyde, benzene, asbestos)

An increasing number of people are becoming sensitive to these subjects and more serious pathologies may develop: allergies, respiratory, ocular and rheumatological diseases.

Actions to be taken to prevent and reduce indoor pollution

Ventilation is the key word. The outside air rushes into the closed space, mixes with some indoor air pollutants but the air is renewed more easily.

It is not always possible to ventilate an office or a dental office if it does not have a window or if there is no possibility to aerate because of the exposure of the workplace (close to an expressway for instance).

Having a professional space equipped with an Air Handling Unit (AHU) is a plus. It treats the indoor or outdoor air and allows to renew it efficiently.

It is also interesting to make sure that household cleaning products are not harmful for health and on a larger scale, for the environment. The same applies to the equipment used on a daily basis: make sure that printers are located away from employees, that fine particles and ozone emissions are not too high. 

If it is not possible to prevent the arrival of pollutants, the best solution is to equip your work space with air purifiers, adapted to the volume and surface of the rooms to be purified. Thanks to our mechanical filtration devices, equipped with HEPA filters, activated carbon and photocatalysis grids (activated if UV lamps are used), professionals will be safer.

In what areas can we protect practitioners ?