Sick Building Syndrome: There’s Something in the Air

Imagine this: you’re at work. You’re coughing, tired, dizzy and have a nasty headache on top of that. The thing is, after you leave, you feel better. Why is that? It may not always be that you’re just happy to leave the workplace. In fact, those are classic symptoms for Sick Building Syndrome (or SBS). SBS is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience health effects that appear to be linked to time spent inside a building, but no specific cause or illness can be identified. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or may be widespread throughout the building.

According to numerous studies, SBS is an increasing problem in the US and around the world. The main culprit behind SBS is inadequate ventilation, which could also occur if heating, ventilation and HVAC systems do not effectively distribute air in the building. With this problem increasing, and with allergy season in full swing, we can’t forget that we have a weapon to fight with – Air Purifiers. Air purifiers will help to reduce the spread of viruses, bacteria and other airborne contaminants that could seriously affect air quality. We have spotlighted two air purifiers that will help you fight off SBS and seasonal allergies.

The Virus Zero Portable Air Purifier (SP-PA4) is a lightweight purifier that neutralizes airborne allergies such as pet dander, tobacco smoke and dust mites. This small and lightweight purifier can sit on a desktop or even fit in your car’s cup holder. The Virus Zero Purifier treats up to 231 square feet of space and only uses 4 watts of power.

The 3M Filtrete Air Cleaner Purifier helps to purify the air in your office, by reducing airborne particles such as mold spores and pet dander. The 3M Filtrete Air Cleaner will reduce odor and captures microscopic allergens such as smoke, dust, smog particles and pollen. The 3M Filtrete Air Purifier releases filtered air from the top of the unit to increase air circulation.

With levels of indoor air pollution rising, we cannot underestimate the value of an air purifier. Consider this: air purifiers can also help you obtain a better night’s sleep by removing many of the allergens that keep us awake all night with an itchy or sore throat. Who wouldn’t want a better night’s sleep?

How are you celebrating Earth Day?

Did you know that the first Earth Day celebration led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? Environmental Awareness is a growing global movement encompassing clean air, clean water and endangered species protection. Around the world environmental groups are fighting against wildlife extinction, unlawful toxic waste disposal, oil spills, litter, raw sewage, contamination leaking from landfills, global warming, and the loss of our wilderness and forests. In recent years, more emphasis has been placed on finding environmental solutions in the field of clean air technology. Here are a few historical facts that raise our environmental consciousness:

  • After witnessing the devastation of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California former Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” campaign. He persuaded Congressman Pete McCloskey to serve as his co-chair and recruited Denis Hayes to fill the role as national coordinator to promote events across the land.
  • Chief Iron Eyes Cody, a Cree-Cherokee Indian and activist starred in a “Keep America Beautiful” PSA commercial during the 1970’s, which was supported by a coalition of companies involved in plastic, paper, tobacco, glass, aluminum and solid-waste. “The Crying Indian” spot that first aired on Earth Day in March 1971 won two Clio Awards and was named one of the top 100 advertising campaigns of the 20th Century by Ad Age Magazine.
  • The Earth Day Network reestablished Earth Day during their 40th anniversary celebration as a powerful focal point where people could demonstrate their commitment to the environment. The importance of bringing environmental concerns to the masses continue to face many challenges from those who deny climate change, uncommunicative politicians, a disinterested public, a divided environmental community and well-funded oil lobbyists. Instead of allowing these challenges to overshadow and hinder the mission of raising environmental consciousness across this country, The Earth Day Network organized the following initiatives: Brought 225,000 people to the National Mall for a Climate Rally, amassed 40 million environmental service actions toward its 2012 goal of A Billion Acts of Green, launched an international 1-million tree planting initiative with Avatar director James Cameron and tripled its online base to over 900,000 community members.

As you travel to work or school, do you ever notice trash, cigarette butts, plastic and glass bottles scattered along the roadways? When you walk along a creek, beach or lake, have you noticed empty cups, beer or soda cans, Styrofoam containers or even those six-pack plastic rings that holds beverage cans and bottles together, lying along the shoreline? Scenes like this invoke us to think about what we are doing to the environment and to change the habits that will prove to be more destructive than we can imagine down the road.

There is an increased sense of urgency regarding our caretaking responsibilities for this planet. We must continue building a clean, healthy environment for generations to come. What environmental events are you organizing or involved in that brings environmental improvements to your local, national or global community? Tell us what you are doing at work, in your schools or individually to make an ecological difference. Are you recycling? Are you reducing your use of electricity? Are you planting more trees? Are you participating in or developing community gardens? Are you using more environmentally sustainable water bottles or reusable shopping bags at the grocery store? Weigh in on the discussion and make every day Earth Day!