Is Your Office’s Air Making You Sick?
Inhale. Exhale. Did you know that the average person takes about 23,000 breaths a day? Unfortunately, air is not the only thing entering your lungs – especially in office or school environments, which are often riddled with dust and allergens. Dust — the tiny particles of fiber, skin scales, insect parts, pollen, cobwebs and dirt that settle on surfaces everywhere – is the culprit for many ailments that develop in the office, according to the Hartford Courant. Chronic coughs and sneezing, scratchy throats, itchy eyes, and even headaches may be attributed to the dust that you’re breathing in daily in your office, which may be a potential health hazard.
Ironically, we go to great lengths to make sure our homes are safe havens, but rarely consider our work spaces – where we spend upwards of 8-hours a day.
An office can be a hotbed of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues. A recent article in the Connecticut OSHA Quarterly explained that there are many ‘neglected areas’ in an office that never get cleaned. Computers and central processing units (CPU) equipment in general are magnets for dust accumulations. Other common and overlooked sources of dust in the workplace are computer cords, plugs, window blind louvers, base boards, trim work, window wells, surfaces at floor-to-wall junctures, underneath office furniture and heating units, fabric of upholstered office furniture, and cubical partitions. Click here to see a photo gallery of dust in various workplaces.
So, before you take a deep breath at work, have a professional conduct an indoor air quality test. Information from the U.S. EPA can be found in their publication “An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality”. EPA-402-k-97-003