Improve Your Office Indoor Air Quality!

Do you work in office building? Chances are that you do, and chances are that you suffer from poor indoor air quality. With allergens, pollen and mold spores making their way into your office building, it is important to learn the easy ways you can improve the air that you breathe for most of the day.

Indoor air quality has a significant effect on your ability to breathe clearly at work. Poor indoor air quality can increase your risk of illness and lead to serious health problems. Fixing and maintaining good office indoor air quality involves many factors, including, “Maintaining good indoor air quality requires attention to the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system;” as the EPA outlined, it also includes, “the design and layout of the space; and pollutant source management.” (EPA.gov). Here are easy steps you and your office can take, to improve your office air quality:

1)      Do not block air vents: Make sure that your HVAC systems vents are clear from boxes or other materials to ensure that you are getting clean, filtered air throughout the entire office

2)      Be aware of furniture spacing: If possible, keep copiers, fax machines, desks and other office equipment away from the HVAC system.  This can restrict air flow and can also cause the HVAC to release too much cool air.

3)      Purchase air purifiers: If you did not take part in the planning of your building, chances are that there is not adequate ventilation in all areas. This will cause unpleasant smells in the air, which contributes to a poor indoor air quality. An air purifier will remove odors, particles, smoke, smog, and other contaminants from the air you and your coworkers breathe all day.

4)      Clean up water spills ASAP: spilled water and wet areas can lead to the growth of mold, mildew and other bacterial spores. This will get into the air that breathe and can cause health problems. If your office feels particularly “damp”, consider using a dehumidifier.

5)      Change filters regularly: If management doesn’t do so already, let them know the importance of changing air filters every 3 to 6 months. For ease, you can purchase a convenient 6 pack of air filters in whatever size you need that will last you the entire year!

With this fall promising to be one of the worst for allergies, it is important to do your best to create a healthy work environment. The 5 simple steps outlined above will keep your office air as clean as possible. This will prevent you from developing respiratory problems and help keep your allergies at bay.

Enter the Clean Air Zone!

Politicians and lay people alike both talk and argue about the effects of the environment on Americans. Clean air and clean living have become trendy issues in the past decade. Green homes, recycling, and hybrid cars are just a few of the ways that people can help make our air a little bit cleaner. With harsh effects of polluted air such asthma and other respiratory problems, it is now more important than ever to protect yourself against the dangerous effects of polluted air. One organization, the Clean Air Task Force, is doing just that.

The Clean Air Task Force is based out of Boston and was formed in 1996. Their primary goal is outlined as such: “To enact federal policy to reduce the pollutants from America’s coal-fired power plants that cause respiratory death and disease, smog, acid rain, and haze.” This group of researchers, advocates, and private sector contributors are working towards getting the American people to truly understand the negative health effects that coal and diesel emissions have.

For example, diesel trucks can pose a serious health risk to pedestrians as it is emitted at ground level. As the CATF explained, “Diesel exhaust is comprised of microscopic carbon soot particles that act to absorb metals and other toxic substances in the exhaust. When inhaled by humans, these tiny, toxic-laden particles cross the blood barrier from lungs into the bloodstream, delivering the toxics to internal organs and leading to inflammation and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases…”

Diesel exhaust leads to approximately 400,000 asthma attacks a year. To get an idea of how much diesel exhaust is released by a local school bus, check out these videos. The first shows an ordinary school bus, while the second is fitted with a diesel filter.

The diesel filter makes a huge difference in the amount of emissions released into the air. The same goes for your indoor air quality. As the CATF has shown us, air pollution is a serious problem and has significant health effects on Americans today. If you are concerned about pollutants and allergens in your home, it is important to equip your home with the proper filters. It is paramount that you change your HVAC filter regularly, and a higher MERV rating, the better. These filters will help to remove particles and mold spores, keeping them out of the air you breathe.

Another way to protect the air you breathe inside your home is to use an air purifier. These will assist in the removal of bacteria and germs that are found in your home, protecting you and your family from sickness. While solving the world’s pollution problems may be very far off, cleaning the air in your home is an inexpensive way for you and your family to stay healthy. While the CATF does their part, it is important that we do ours!

Charity Tuesday- The Fresh Air Fund

With fall just around the corner, I wanted to focus on a FRESH AIR charity for this Charity Tuesday. There is really nothing better than stepping out onto your front porch to breathe in the cool, clean, crisp air of fall. As the leaves begin to turn into beautiful reds, oranges and yellows, I would like to feature The Fresh Air Fund as Filter’s Fast Charity Tuesday pick. With many charities focused on providing fresh water to people around the world, it is refreshing to see a charity that understands the importance of fresh air. In particular, the Fresh Air Fund in New York City has provided free summer experiences in the country to more than 1 million inner city children since it began in 1877.

The Fresh Air Fund provides two different avenues for inner-city children to experience the country. For many children, this is their first time under America’s starry sky without the interruption of harsh city lights. Fresh Air Fund camps host 3,000 children between the ages of eight to 15 yearly. These camps are split up by age, special needs, and gender, allowing parents to choose the most suitable camp for their child. Many children who have never been outside of the city are able to experience swimming, milking a cow, cabin living and fishing among many other activities. There are also year-round day and weekend camping trips available.

The Fresh Air Fund also provides 5,000 children with the opportunity to spend two or more weeks with a host family in 13 Northeastern states through their Friendly Town Program.  Here, children from disadvantaged New York City communities have the opportunity to live in a small rural/suburban community.  Being a host family for the Fresh Air Family means that you are providing a child with the opportunity to experience life outside of the city and it is rewarding for both you and the child you are hosting!

The Fresh Air Fund is a nonprofit organization that is able to provide these great opportunities due to peoples generous donations. It is easy to make a tax-deductible donation in any amount on their secure website. If you understand the importance of clean fresh air, and outdoor activities for children, then The Fresh Air Fund is the charity for you.

 

*Speaking of fresh air, the Fall can bring unwanted air contaminants into your home, decreasing your homes indoor air quality. If you are concerned about the air quality inside your home, an air filter or air purifier will help significantly!