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How do I recognize indoor air quality issues?
Learn to recognize the most common signs of poor indoor air quality in your building or workspace with this easy overview.
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is an essential aspect of our daily lives, yet many of us are unaware of the impact that the air we breathe indoors can have on our health, productivity, and overall well-being. Poor IAQ can cause a wide range of symptoms, from minor irritations to serious health problems.
In this article, we will explore the signs of indoor air quality issues and help you recognize any risky clues.
How do you recognize poor indoor air quality?
Poor indoor air quality can manifest in a number of ways, and it's important to be aware of the signs so you can take action in your workspace quickly. We've collected some of the most recurrent signs, ordered from most common to least:
- Strong, unpleasant odors
If you notice a musty, damp smell in your home or office, it could be a sign of mold growth. Similarly, if you smell a chemical or gasoline-like odor, it could indicate that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are present in the air.
- Increased allergies or respiratory issues
If you or your employees are experiencing increased allergies, skin irritation, or respiratory issues, such as sneezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing, it could be a sign of poor indoor air quality.
- Headaches, fatigue, or "foggy" feeling
Have you ever had the feeling of getting a "heavy head" after long hours at the office? Poor indoor air quality can be behind this. In fact, these symptoms are often caused by exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or carbon monoxide (CO).
- Visible mold or mildew
If you can see mold or mildew growing in your building, it is a clear sign of poor IAQ. These fungal growths can cause serious health problems and must be removed promptly.
- Dust and dirt accumulation
Dust and dirt accumulation can be a sign of poor indoor air quality, as it indicates that pollutants are not being effectively removed from the air. Of course, this can end up causing an increase in allergies and respiratory issues.
- Dizziness or nausea
Have you ever felt very dizzy at work or gotten suddenly nauseous? Exposure to certain pollutants, such as carbon monoxide or VOCs, can actually be the cause of that.
- Dry skin or dry throat
Poor indoor air quality, such as unbalanced levels of humidity, can cause dry skin or dry throat, which can be uncomfortable and can lead to other health problems.
- Increased static electricity
Lastly, a less known one is that poor indoor air quality can cause a build-up of static electricity, which can be uncomfortable and can also damage electronic equipment.
What are the consequences of poor indoor air quality?
Poor indoor air quality can have serious consequences for both individuals and organizations. Some of these consequences include:
- Health problems
As you've read above, poor IAQ can lead to a variety of health problems, such as respiratory issues, allergies, and headaches. In extreme cases, it can even lead to more serious health problems like asthma and other lung problems.
- Decreased productivity
Poor indoor air quality can cause fatigue, headaches, and other symptoms that can directly affect your day at work. This in turn can lead to decreased productivity and financial losses for companies.
- Increased absenteeism
If employees are experiencing health problems as a result of poor IAQ, they are more likely to take time off work, which can lead to increased absenteeism and costs for the company.
- Legal liability
In many countries, employees are required to report their indoor air quality levels and make sure to comply with healthy indoor air quality standards at the workspaces. Failing to do so might have legal consequences for the company. Similarly, if employees become ill as a result of poor indoor air quality, the company may be held liable for their medical expenses and lost wages.
You don't know where to start? Take a look at our latest article: solving your indoor air quality issues in only 5 steps.
Or read more to discover all about our record-setting solution for Indoor Air Quality Checks.