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Importance of IAQ emphasised by National Clean Air Day

15 June 2017

Today has been designated National Clean Air Day and is being used by suppliers to the FM sector to highlight the importance of good indoor air quality (IAQ) in the workplace.

The issue is further reported by a number of studies showing the rise in numbers of fatalities attributed to poor air quality.

ESG operations director for Environmental & Air Emissions, Built Environment Services David Gough said IAQ levels are a "major influence" for those working within buildings, as Europeans are estimated to spend up to 90% of their lives inside.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the most common indoor pollutants, he continued, which can be emitted from air fresheners, paints, lacquers, cleaning supplies, pesticides and some building materials.

"Other causes include damp carpets, ceilings and old pieces of furniture," he continued.

"These can give rise to volatile and potentially hazardous contaminants such as BTEX, formaldehyde, aromatics, napthalene and styrene from the breakdown of plastics, as well as airborne bacteria, yeasts and moulds."

Mr Gough emphasised the importance of ventilation to maintain good IAQ to combat Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), which can cause symptoms such as dry or itchy skin, eyes or throat, as well as headaches, lethargy, irritability or poor concentration.

"By keeping an eye out for the warning signs of poor air quality and controlling occupant exposure to products with high levels of VOCs, those responsible for safety in buildings across Europe can actively protect against the dangers of indoor pollution and create a healthier and more productive environment," said Mr Gough.

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