Many people do not realize the sheer importance of air quality within their businesses. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air inside your office can contain two to five times more pollutants than the outdoors. Some business owners have been shocked to find their indoor air quality to be up to 100% worse than the outdoors. It is imperative that individuals are aware of the quality of the air they are breathing since many pollutants can have lasting adverse effects on their health.
What are the Effects of Poor Air Quality?
One of the ways to understand why an indoor air quality assessment is so vital is to look at the effects poor indoor air quality can have on your health. There are immediate and long-term effects that can occur when you become exposed to indoor pollutants. The severity of the following is determined by how polluted your indoor air has become.
It is possible to experience adverse reactions immediately upon exposure to pollutants. The severity of the reaction depends on the individual’s health and exposure level. Immediate effects of poor indoor air quality include the following.
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation
It can often be challenging to differentiate between cold symptoms and air pollution exposure. If the symptoms go away or improve when a person is away from the building, it is likely an indoor air quality problem that needs to be addressed.
Because it can be difficult to tell if the air inside a business is polluted without testing, individuals can experience long-term effects due to ongoing exposure. In some cases, long-term effects may not show up for years after exposure to indoor air pollution, and they can lead to the following health conditions:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?
Many factors can lead to indoor air pollution. Becoming aware of these root causes allows you as a building owner to ensure air quality is maintained at healthy levels.
- Fuel combustion appliances
- Tobacco smoke
- Air fresheners and cleaners
- Building materials containing asbestos
- Freshly installed flooring and carpeting
- Central air humidification
Why Should You Seek an Air Quality Assessment?
Surprisingly, many business owners have never had their indoor air quality tested. Unfortunately, pollutants in the air are invisible. An invisible threat is almost impossible to combat, which is why it is so important to have the air inside a building tested. With a full indoor air quality assessment, owners and occupants are aware of what pollutants they are dealing with and can act accordingly. The following are some of the top reasons every business owner should consider having an indoor air quality assessment carried out by a trained professional.
- Volatile organic compounds are typically found in almost every indoor space. These are the chemicals that are released when you have new carpeting installed, paint a room, or use chemical cleaners or other products. If you notice a chemical smell in your office, these are VOCs. An assessment can reveal their concentration.
- Mold and mildew can range in severity of levels. Fungi live in warm and humid environments, and they can quickly spread and become massive infestations. When mold is growing behind walls and under flooring, business owners may not be aware there is a problem until they have testing carried out. Some types of mold can be deadly, especially for those with compromised immune systems.
- Pet dander and droppings are also a reason to seek an assessment. Cats, dogs, rats, and other animals can all leave behind air pollution. From their hair to their droppings, these substances can cause health concerns in those who have allergies, asthma, or compromised immune systems. Buildings can also be ravaged by dust mites and cockroaches, both of which can lead to upper respiratory irritations and health concerns.
- Many offices are polluted with pesticides, and the owners do not even know it. Even if a person never uses pesticides inside their office, they can be polluted from the outside inward. Pesticides feature organic compounds that can further increase the peril of VOCs. Long-term pesticide exposure can lead to brain damage, cancer, and possible death.
- Asbestos is a pollutant that is primarily found in older buildings. It is found naturally in soil and does not cause problems until it is brought indoors. Asbestos typically only becomes airborne when it is disturbed, which is why business owners must never carry out any remodeling projects until they know if their home or building contains these materials.
- Radon testing is one of the most critical tests carried out in an indoor air assessment. Because radon is colorless and odorless, many individuals do not realize their business has a problem with this harmful gas. According to the CDC, radon is the number two cause of lung cancer and regularly kills around 21,000 people each year in the United States.
- Combustion is another reason people need to seek indoor air quality assessments. Gas, propane, and other combustibles are often used for heating and cooking. Although these are meant to be used safely indoors, without proper ventilation, they can be dangerous. Having an indoor air quality assessment carried out can reveal problems such as leaks or improper ventilation so they can be remedied.
Considering the above reveals just how vital an air quality assessment is for your health. Because modern construction is sealed more tightly than ever before, indoor pollution has become a genuine threat. It is essential to rely on the professionals to ensure the testing is carried out correctly.
Rely on the Professionals for an Assessment
Even if you have not experienced any of the above symptoms, that does not mean there is not an indoor pollution problem. Testing should be carried out at least once a year. A full indoor air quality assessment reveals the hidden pollution in your business. Because some of them can be dangerous, you must know what is lurking within the air. Contact an AirQuest specialist today to schedule a consultation.