Since Americans spend an average of 176 hours a month in their office, it’s important to know more about the environment that you’re spending the majority of your waking hours in. From conventional and potentially-dangerous cleaners to the toxic treatments on traditional furniture treated with potentially harmful irritants, it’s important to know just how much everyday office activities and products can be contributing to reduced indoor air quality and potential health risks.
Ditch Hazardous Office Cleaners
“In terms of household cleaners, neither ingredients nor products must meet any sort of safety standard, nor is any testing data or notification required before bringing a product to market.” -Rebecca Sutton, PhD and scientist for the Environmental Working Group.
Scarily, there are currently no federal regulation of chemicals in household cleaning products. This means that many common household cleaners are toxic to both the humans who use them and the people who you share your office with. Chemicals used to clean office buildings (especially those with heavy-duty cleaning power, antibacterial properties, and fragrances) are often loaded with toxic compounds like pthalates, quarternary ammonium compounds, triclosan, ammonia, and chlorine. Exposure to these compounds are linked to respiratory issues, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Using natural solutions (think vinegar and water to clean floors) or even organic cleaning supplies can greatly reduce the amount of toxic compounds you and your co-workers come into contact with. These natural alternatives improve indoor quality and decreases risk of health reactions to these compounds.
Cut the Toxic Office Furniture
Think about what you use daily in your office from the desk your computer sits on, the file organizer that you fill with paperwork, and even the table you eat your lunch at. Sadly, all office furniture is not created equal and the wooden desk you work out could be coated in potentially hazardous chemicals. Between the materials used to create the pieces, to the stains, paints, coatings, sealants, and treatments used on the furniture, you could be breathing in toxic chemicals and pollutants and lowering your indoor air quality just by sitting at your desk.
You may be familiar with the term “volatile organic compounds” (or VOCs), which is a gas emitted from common products that can cause ear, nose, and throat irritation, as well as headaches, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. Other common toxic chemicals found in conventional office furniture include perfluorinated compounds, perchloroethylene, formaldehyde, phthalates, hydrazine, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, bisphenol A, benzidine, chlorine, and ammonia. These chemicals drastically reduce indoor air quality and can cause adverse health reactions in humans.
To limit your exposure to these chemicals and toxins increase your air quality, try purchasing office furniture from an eco-friendly company, buy products that are American-made, or even buy vintage furniture that doesn’t have the same modern sealants, varnishes, or treated wood as today’s products.
Improve Indoor Air Quality with Green Air
Clean, breathable air that’s free from toxic chemicals is essential to a healthy work environment. At Green Air, we clean and maintain your HVAC system harnessing the all natural power of steam, versus harsh and corrosive chemical cleaners. Not only do these harsh chemicals eventually break down expensive equipment, but they are also released into the air circulating your building.
At Green Air, our goal is to provide cleaner air, cleaner equipment, and a more sustainable business practice. We provide documented data to show that not only is your air cleaner, but your coils are penetrated and free of dangerous microbials. We are able to show you how your equipment runs more efficiently through an energy analysis as well, ensuring that you know your workplace is cleaner and more efficient.