THE AIR WE BREATHE
You probably already know that the air you breathe is crucial to your daily function. The body needs fresh oxygen to perform its routine tasks and keep your heart pumping healthily throughout the day. Many of us take an inhalation for granted, and we don’t think twice about what we may actually be breathing into our lungs. Pollutants in the air are too small for us to see, yet poor air quality has been linked to multiple health issues such as headaches, mood swings, lack of concentration and fatigue, known as symptoms of the rather unknown sick building syndrome. However, poor air can also cause more serious health problems such as respiratory tract damage and eye irritation, cardiovascular disease, aggravated allergies and hypersensitivity, as well as an increased risk of cancer. Knowing what’s in our air and keeping it healthy is as essential as knowing what’s in the food we eat or water we drink.
While contaminants may only form a tiny proportion of the air around us in our homes, offices and workplaces, they can have a huge impact on our health both long and short term. So what are the worst offenders?
The most common indoor air pollutants are combustion products, biological particles from mold, pet dander, pollen, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), lead dust and asbestos. Indoor air may also contain over 900 different types of gaseous chemicals and particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), according to The European Commission Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks. Breathing in tiny, unseen pollutants puts you at risk. These pass through your lung tissue and into your bloodstream, circulating through your body and staying there.
our daily companions
Where are they hiding?
Food and other odors
Combustion appliances such as stoves
Chemicals such as adhesives, paints, varnishes, cleaning Products, printers
Pesticides … as well as many others
Approximately 20% of all people are battling with allergies every day.
Bacteria & Germs
Multi-resistant germs and certainc viruses are becoming more dangerous – most germs are mainly spread through airborne droplets.
It‘s the one thing people notice first. The presence of putrid smells and odors are not only unpleasant, they can also be a sign of poor, even harmful air quality.
Volatile Compounds (VOCs) are harmful chemicals emitted from every day products.
Indoor Air Quality
Determination of IAQ levels involves the collection of air samples, temperature and humidity monitoring and analysis of the air flow inside buildings.
The most internationally used standards for HVAC and indoor air quality are:
DIN EN 16798-3:2017-11 (European Standard)
Ventilation for non-residential buildings - performance requirements for ventilation and room-conditioning systems.
The European Standard classifies the indoor air quality in four classes, from IDA4 - low air quality buildings to IDA1 - high air quality buildings.
EN15251 (European Standard) Indoor environmental input parameters for design and assessment of energy performance of buildings- addressing indoor air quality, thermal environment, lighting and acoustic
ASHRAE 62.1 and 62.2 -2013Ventilation for acceptable indoor air quality
SICK BUILDING SYNDROME
Have you ever heard of the
SICK-BUILDING SYNDROME (SBS)?
This term is used to describe situations, in which building occupants experience health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in the building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.
This building-related illness is a modern disease of our air-tight energy efficient homes and the stagnant chemical or biological pollutant filled air that may consequently accumulate indoors. Most people are aware that outdoor air pollution and bad air quality can damage their health, but many do not know that indoor air pollution and air quality can also have significant health effects.
Common symptoms include acute discomfort caused by headaches, sensitivity to odors, irritation in your eyes, nose or throat, dry cough, skin irritation, dizziness, nausea, trouble concentrating and fatigue. People experiencing SBS experience these symptoms without any apparent cause and usually experience relief soon after leaving the building in question.
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