The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Air that is Far From Fair

20 November 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

Recent US studies have found that the indoor air quality in offices can be two to five times worse than the air outside.

The findings come from work led by Joseph Allen, Assistant Professor of Exposure Assessment Science and Director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment investigating indoor air quality (IAQ).

“We spend 90% of our time indoors and 90% of the cost of a building are the occupants, yet indoor environmental quality and its impact on health and productivity are often an afterthought,” he observed.

IAQ can be worse than outdoor air quality due to the many sources of pollution within buildings. The most common forms of include:

  • Fine combustion particles from traffic and power stations (PM2.5).

  • Volcanic dust.

  • Bio-aerosols and pathogens, e.g. pollen, bacteria, viruses and fungal spores; environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).

  • Asbestos and silica dust.

  • Molecular pollutants such as gases and vapours include carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and sulphur, ozone, radon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

A US study published in Environmental Health Perspectives last month found that people who work in well ventilated offices with below average levels of indoor pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO2) have significantly higher cognitive functioning scores in crucial areas such as responding to a crisis or developing strategy than those who work in offices with typical levels.

The findings suggest that the indoor environments in which many people work daily could be adversely affecting cognitive function and that, conversely, improved air quality could greatly increase the cognitive function performance of workers.

The US conclusions gave further credence to work already published earlier this year in a report from the World Green Building Council that found ‘overwhelming’ evidence of IAQ and its impact on the health, wellbeing and productivity of staff.

One specialist in the UK is currently offering an IAQ particle analysis in Workplaces. Camfil is currently advising advise on the concentrations of any airborne contaminants combined with a demonstration of its mobile air cleaners.

For further information, Click Here

Picture: Poor indoor air quality in the workplace can have adverse impacts on staff performance.


Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 20 November 2015


Related Tags

Related Articles

BESA President’s Lunch 2023

The answer to many of the UK’s serious social and economic challenges could be solved by its engineering community, said the President of the Building...

 Read Full Article
Clean Heating Policies Improve Air Quality in Northern China

China’s centralised winter heating strategy has helped to prevent over 23,000 fewer premature deaths in 2021 than in 2015, a new study has revealed. From 2015 to...

 Read Full Article
30% of London’s Particulate Matter is From Construction Sites

Data collected from industry stakeholders shows that air pollution from construction sites has been steadily on the rise in recent decades. The charity, Impact on...

 Read Full Article
Pollution Law Update Ignores IAQ, BESA Objects

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) says it is surprised that changes to pollution laws announced by the government ignore the importance of indoor air...

 Read Full Article
Clean Air Day 2022 – The Business Case for Improved Air Quality

Clean Air Day is the UK's largest air pollution campaign, bringing together communities, businesses, schools and the health sector.   Watch the...

 Read Full Article
World's First Climate Change Patient?

A woman in Canada has recently been the first to be diagnosed with health complications as a direct result of climate-change-induced weather experience. Dr Kyle Merrit...

 Read Full Article
WHO Updates Air Quality Guidelines for First Time Since 2005

The World Health Organisation has updated its official air quality guidelines, as air pollution remains one of the greatest environmental risks to health.  The...

 Read Full Article
New CIBSE Air Cleaning Guidance Considering COVID

Two new pieces of guidance on reducing COVID-19 transmission through ventilation and air cleaning technologies have been issued by the Chartered Institution of Building...

 Read Full Article
Why is Air Quality Important?

Last month was National Clean Air Month in the US. Why is air quality important? The pandemic has brought consideration of clean air to the public eye, but the quality...

 Read Full Article
Spotlight Interview | CPA Engineered Solutions | The Biojet

In this Spotlight interview, we join CPA Engineered Solutions to discuss their new air sterilisation device, The Biojet. CPA Engineered Solutions Ltd has a 29 year...

 Read Full Article