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7 Indoor Air Quality Problems affecting Canadian Businesses (and what you can do about them)

Updated on November 17, 2011

Indoor air quality complaints in the workplace are on the rise in Canada. It is not all businesses that use an air purification system. Today, there is even a name for health problems that are attributed to unhealthy indoor environments. Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) include a wide range of ailments like headaches, eye, nose or throat irritation and respiratory infections. These health conditions can affect employee performance, productivity and absenteeism which can significantly impact the overall efficiency of an enterprise. There are many factors that can negatively influence the quality of indoor environments. Below are some of the most common sources of poor air quality in the workplace and some important means for correcting them.

Common Sources of Poor Air

· Dampness

· Poor Construction

· Poor Ventilation

· Office layout

· Chemical contaminants

· Smoke odors

· Dust

Mold Removal

Mold can be a factor in older and poorly constructed buildings. Mold is made up of microscopic fungi known as spores. Spores can live on a variety of objects as well as animals. When an environment becomes filled with mold it can result in a number of serious health consequences including respiratory tract and fungal infections, asthma and allergies. Mold spores need moisture to proliferate. So the key to preventing mold is to prevent moisture build up. Potential trouble spots around windows, ventilation and HVAC systems should be checked regularly for moisture accumulation. Persistent mold problems can signal structural problems. In such cases, a mold inspection should be undertaken by a certified specialist and building decontamination may also be necessary.

HVAC Systems

When properly operating and regularly serviced, HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) provide optimal thermal conditions. They will introduce fresh outdoor air, while removing unclean air by natural means or via exhaust fans and vents. Another important feature of an HVAC system is pressure control across different rooms. Pressure control features allow for the isolation of odors and for dust containment. The most powerful commercial HVAC air filters in the market will effectively trap a wide range of harmful airborne pathogens. Regular maintenance of filters will increase energy saving and ensures an optimal clean breathing environment for employees.

Many air quality issues can be avoided by observing a regular preventative inspection and maintenance schedule of company ventilation equipment and HVAC systems. Regular inspections will allow you to catch moisture, mold and ventilation problems before they become a more serious health detriment to your employees.


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