Tag Archives: Poor indoor air quality

Where you spend 90% of your time may be detrimental to your health

According to the EPA, the average American spends 90% of their time indoors, and the vast majority of this time is spent in an office environment. In most office environments, concentrations of some pollutants are often 2-5 times higher, and in some cases even 100 times greater, than typical outdoor concentrations.

While the vast majority of office environments do not fall under the more severe range, most office buildings, including the well-run ones, can experience episodes of indoor air pollution leading to poor air quality. Poor indoor air quality is a major contributor to allergy and illness threats, which leads to billions of dollars lost each year dealing with higher employee absenteeism and a decline in workplace productivity.

 

Indoor air pollutants that lead to poor indoor air quality

According to the American Lung Association, a higher level of indoor air pollution, “contributes to the development of infections, lung cancer, and chronic lung diseases such as asthma”. Also, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation Association (AAFA), points out that an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies, which is the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S.

In addition, indoor air pollution can cause headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea, and fatigue. All of these factors lead to indoor environmental health issues and play a major impact in lowering workplace productivity.

 

Major sources of pollutants

Biological

Biological

High levels of bacteria, viruses, fungi (including molds), dust mite allergen, animal dander and pollen are biological pollutants that lead to allergic reactions and asthmatic episodes. A high level of biological pollutants is often the result of poor housekeeping habits, water spills left untouched, inadequate humidity control, condensation, or may be brought in from other occupants.

 

Dust & Debris

Dust & Debris

With dust and debris, typically it is the smaller particles naked to the visible eye that is more harmful to our health. Such particles can make its way into facilities from the outside, and can also generate and accumulate from everyday activities that take place within facilities. This includes running and operating office equipment such as printing and copying, as well as poor cleaning methods that lead to more dirt and debris circulating in the air.

 

Chemicals

Chemicals

While there’s been a big push to eliminate harmful substances used indoors, many people are unaware of how hazardous these chemicals are toward our health.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), American workers use tens of thousands of chemicals each day. While many of these chemicals have a higher propensity to cause harm due to their intended use and composite physical properties, there are only a small number of chemicals that are publicly regulated [5]. As a result, not only is there a strong chance many chemicals being used inside of facilities are non-regulated, but many of these chemicals are also exposing building occupants to toxic fumes that lead to major health issues.

 

Sustainable Cleaning Tips to Reduce the Amount of Pollutants

Sustainable cleaning –  sometimes referred to as “green cleaning” – reduces the exposure to potentially hazardous products, equipment, or processes that can adversely affect our health within the indoor work environment.

Our next article, entitled sustainable cleaning tips to reduce the amount of harmful indoor pollutants will share three (3) key areas to pay attention to inside your facility to help achieve a healthier indoor environment.

Mister Kleen is a leading provider of contract cleaning services to Commercial and High Security facilities since 1976. Our primary service area is the DC Metro region. We also provide a variety of interior and exterior specialty services.

Indoor Air Pollution – How Chemicals and Cleaning Processes are Destroying your Health

According to the EPA, “the average American spends approximately 90% of their time indoors.”

Unfortunately, much of the air we breathe indoors is toxic as pollutant levels “may be 2-5 times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor pollutant levels.”

A higher level of indoor air pollution, according to the American Lung Association, “contributes to the development of infections, lung cancer, and chronic lung diseases such as asthma. In addition, it can cause headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea, and fatigue.”

One of the main contributors to a rise in indoor air pollution can come from the chemicals being used inside your facility and/or home. This is especially true with cleaning products as many people are exposed to harsh and toxic chemicals that, overtime, can lead to illness or death.

Of course, there are several initiatives and valuable resources that can assist us in making great strides to improve the environment in which we spend the vast majority of our time in. One such initiative is a push for facilities to pursue greener procedures and processes by obtaining reputable third-party certifications, such as the prestigious U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program.

While cleaning represents a small portion of LEED, facilities can satisfy their pre-requisite points with a Green Cleaning Policy, and accumulate additional credits with the use of Green Cleaning Products, Materials and Equipment under the new LEED v4.

If you have a Green Seal (GS-42) certified contract cleaning company cleaning your facility you will not only satisfy the LEED pre-requisites and additional credits for cleaning, you can also reassure your occupants that they can breathe and work in a healthier environment.

Other valuable tips to help protect your indoor health as discussed in a recent BSCAI Services Magazine article include:

  • Examining your cleaning products with their emissions and odors being released.
  • Evaluating your cleaning processes and ways in which they can be modified to eliminate hazards.
  • Performing a chemical screening and using resources and toolkits to improve the health of your facility. One toolkit highlighted in the article includes the U.S. Department of Labor OSHA Safer Chemicals Toolkit.

Click here to further read BSCAI’s excellent article entitled Protecting the Indoor Environment as written by Roger McFadden, vice president and senior scientist for Staples, Inc.

A healthier indoor environment leads to a healthier you resulting in a productivity booster in your facility!

 

Mister Kleen is a leading provider of contract cleaning services to Commercial and High Security facilities since 1976. Our primary service area is the DC Metro region. We also provide a variety of interior and exterior specialty services.