Is your workplace making you feel uneasy and sick? Poor quality of indoor air in offices may lead to the Sick Building Syndrome. The Sick Building Syndrome is a condition that affects office workers and is marked by respiratory problems and headaches due to the unclean air we breathe in closed spaces. These problems can be attributed to an unhealthy environment caused due to poor ventilation and dirty air ducts.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that while the outside air is on its way towards improvement, the indoor air quality (IAQ) is getting worse. From hospitals and libraries to homes and offices, indoor air is being blamed for contaminated air. The new, energy-efficient properties have sealed windows so fresh air is not available. Such offices depend on heating; ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems which give out cool/heated air carried by air ducts. However, the air brought by the air ducts is not always clean. The EPA estimates one of four renovated or new buildings to be classified as a ‘sick building.’ Employees suffering building-related health issues tend to cost companies billion each year in productivity loss, sending them on a desperate hunt for answers.
Sometimes, the indoor air quality is even worse than the outdoor air quality. Offices located above loading docks and parking garages can experience higher levels of carbon monoxide brought into the building with fresh-air-intake vents. Be it the smokers chatting close to an air intake vent or the pollution from passing trucks, some quantity of unhealthy air is sure to reach you inside the office. Such outdoor elements also tend to dirty the air ducts while on their way. Dirty air ducts should be cleaned annually or else they will continue to expel dirty air that we will be forced to breathe in. Dust, dirt and debris in the ductwork can spread allergies and asthma.
Employees can always highlight the issue to the company’s human resources representative and request them to talk to the building manager so the building can be inspected. It is necessary to seek professional help and hire a good air duct cleaning company so all the dirt and gunk can be cleaned and you can get fresh air to breathe again.