Indoor Air Quality Awareness and Action Plan
After the 1775 Continental Congress, Benjamin Franklin left Philadelphia claiming that “I am persuaded that no common air from without is so unwholesome as the air within a close room that has been often breathed and not changed.”
Even in the 18th century Franklin noticed the danger that recycled air posed to health and productivity. What he deemed “unwholesome” air back then would now be considered “sick air” by medical professionals. Especially in the COVID-19 era, science has developed a number of ways to measure and quantify our air quality.
Air quality is generally measured across an index. Many native Californians are familiar with AQI - a common metric for outdoor air pollution that is closely watched during wildfires. In this system, unhealthy air is denoted with a darkening color and warnings are provided for those who may be particularly sensitive.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) focuses on tracking particulate matter. Counterintuitively it is the small particles, not the larger ones that pose greatest risk as they are more easily aerated in the lungs. Everyday actions like breathing, cleaning, or using a printer all release particulate matter into the air. This is how air “builds up” and becomes unwholesome, to use Franklin’s terminology. It is also a key reason why people get sick at work - spending too much time inside overly packed and poorly ventilated spaces where particulate matter builds up.
As we emerge from quarantine the Wall Street Journal recently listed safe indoor air as a major priority for office managers, and at the end of May, the Economist published a lead article entitled “It is time to clean up the air in buildings”.
Researchers have linked poor ventilation in buildings to a range of symptoms. Prolonged exposure to bad air can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, coughs, dizziness, nausea, and irritation of eye, nose, throat and skin. It is also linked to a reduction in worker productivity.
Studies indicate that many people spend more than 90% of their time indoors. With millions of Americans returning to work and school in the next several months, the need to monitor these environmental conditions has never been more crucial.
Phizzle’s expertise comes in deploying industrial-grade pharmaceutical technology to monitor the air quality for indoor environments. We offer the most granular, powerful tools for keeping offices and indoor environments safe. The EDGMaker Digital Air Series connects and automates particle counters to create a single dashboard for monitoring indoor environment conditions
Knowing your indoor air quality to a precise level lets office managers put data behind their safety claims. It helps keep workers safe, companies compliant, and businesses moving. As importantly it empowers workers to take actions to improve their indoor air quality and keep themselves safe.
Yes, buildings and businesses need to implement the best HVAC hepa filters and ionizers to ensure clean air within their buildings. But workers need to know they have a role to play in this as well. Simple actions can make a big impact in the IAQ of your office space. Once you measure IAQ here are several steps your office space could take to reduce air pollution:
Limit use of stove or microwaves if particulate matter starts to spike
Eliminate candle burning, vaping or any other burning within office environments
Keep papers, pictures and objects off of ventilator grids
Make sure office cleaning supplies are non toxic and stored in near ventilation
Confirm vacuum has high efficiency filters
Have building janitorial staff empty trash multiple times per day, not just at night
Water Plants consistently. Dry plants can create particulate matter unnecessarily
These specific practices can help reset the air quality to healthy levels in combination with HVAC actions. More broadly though, the EPA recommends a 6 step plan for ensuring IAQ:
At Phizzle, we would add one more step: Measure and Monitor. Our Digital Air Solution automatically tracks the particulate matter count of your office air and displays that information transparently to all employees. In the event that IAQ falls below acceptable thresholds, alerts can be sent to those who may be especially predisposed to the risks of sick air..
The science now overwhelmingly backs what Franklin noticed in 1775 - the state of our indoor air matters.
Phizzle’s Digital Air Series brings Fortune 100 pharmaceutical equipment and expertise directly to your office.
If your business environment is considering implementing digital air, please reach out directly to firstname.lastname@example.org