How Bad IAQ is Killing You Softly

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How Bad IAQ is Killing You Softly

Sorry for the mid-90’s Fugees song reference (or if you’re from an earlier generation, think Roberta Flack). Do you work a 9-5 type job indoors or just spend alot of time inside? If you do, you may be the victim of bad indoor air quality, or bad IAQ.  

(Trivia: What is the #1 complaint for workplace IAQ? Answer at the end of this post.)

Did you know that IAQ in your workspace is a major factor affecting both your short- and long-term health? Most people think only of outdoor air pollution when they think of air quality, but since most of us spend the majority of our time indoors, IAQ is something we should all be aware of.

The Challenges of Tackling IAQ

According to the EPA, indoor air quality isn’t an easily defined concept; it constantly changes depending on the design, maintenance, and operation of the building, the outdoor air environment, and occupant numbers. (All those deep breaths you take before you present to the board/send that email to the entire company/have to push back on a customer or client? Stop! You’re increasing the CO2!)

And modern design IS NOT helping IAQ: “As modern buildings have become more efficient, they have also become more airtight, increasing the potential for poor IAQ….” Has anyone else noticed that in most office buildings, you can’t open windows…?

IAQ isn’t often on the forefront of people’s minds, because it’s not obvious. Indoor air is invisible, so we can’t easily see if its polluted.

The most common causes of bad IAQ in buildings (thanks OSHA) include:

  • Not enough ventilation and lack of fresh outdoor air
  • Poor upkeep of ventilation, heating and air-conditioning systems
  • Dampness and moisture damage due to leaks, flooding, or high humidity
  • Occupant activities, such as construction or remodeling
  • Outdoor contaminated air coming into the indoor environment

Why Should We Care about IAQ? And What Can We Do?

All employers and facility managers should be aware of IAQ. Bad IAQ can seriously hurt the productivity of a workforce, causing sick building syndrome.

Sick building syndrome is a recognized health issue and can cause anything from headaches, lethargy, and trouble concentrating, to sinus infections, coughs, and colds. Sick building syndrome is directly correlated with decreased productivity.

How can you combat bad IAQ? Well first, you need to know what you’re up against.  Taking stock of the state of your IAQ is the first step. This is where Onset can help. Below are some free resources to help you get started on monitoring IAQ:

Onset offers a variety of data loggers to monitor IAQ for temperature, temperature and relative humidity, CO2 and HVAC systems.

(P.S.- It’s not a shocker, but the #1 complaint for workplace IAQ is temperature!)

HEY! Are you using HOBO Data Loggers to monitor IAQ? We’d love to hear from you! Email social@onsetcomp.com and tell us about your IAQ application.