Air Purifiers Can Improve Your Health & Productivity
In the 1970s, leading physicians were noticing increased numbers of patients suffering from symptoms such as eye/nose irritation, odor sensitivity, headaches, respiratory problems, and a host of other allergy-like reactions to unknown stimuli. After extensive research, it was noted that these same patients would experience the above symptoms while in buildings, but that these reactions would cease once the patients left these buildings. This disorder soon became known as Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).
SBS is formally defined as a situation which occurs when occupants of a building experience acute health effects that are linked to time being spent in a building, but with no specific cause or illness identified. These complaints can be localized to a particular room or zone, but may even be widespread throughout the building.
What Factors Contribute to SBS
While specific causes of SBS remains unknown, some contributing factors include:
- Chemical contaminants from outdoor sources such as motor vehicle exhausts and combustion byproducts that enter from poorly ventilated windows, doors, or air intake vents
- Chemical contaminants from indoor sources such as adhesives, copy machines, carpeting, pesticides, tobacco smoke, and synthetic fragrances
- Biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and molds stemming from stagnant water in ducts or drain pans
- Inadequate ventilation resulting from energy-efficient buildings
In addition to flu-like respiratory problems, SBS can also cause skin irritation and fatigue. In fact, studies have shown that SBS often results in decreased worker productivity and increased absenteeism.
How to Treat SBS
To address problems of SBS, the most effective approach to solving sources of indoor air quality problems is by removing or modifying the pollution source. Companies can also increase the ventilation rates and air distribution as a means of cost-effectively reducing indoor pollutant levels and this can include the use of commercial air purifiers.
Because commercial and industrial air purifiers are better suited to handle high pollution levels when compared to standard home air purifiers, they can help drastically decrease the amount of contaminants in the air. When choosing an air purifier for commercial use, consumers should first be aware of the main source of pollution and the square footage of the area being purified.
For heavy particulate contamination, air purifiers with HEPA filters and ion generators are excellent at trapping particles such as dust, and purifiers with Activated Carbon can significantly reduce odors and gases from infiltrating the air you breathe. Also, more advanced technologies such as Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) work in concert with an air purifier's HEPA filter, and can offer further protection against harmful gases, chemicals, and VOCs.