Indoor Air

Indoor Air Quality

Have you ever heard of the Sick Building Syndrome? Probably not, because this term is fairly new to the media. If the papers or the television pick up on this or related subject, then it is most likely very dramatic and in connection with an office or public building, where unsuspecting workers and visitors caught the mysterious Legionnaires’ disease, for example.

It doesn’t have to be so dramatic, though. I remember my time as air traffic control instructor when I performed my duties in a building that was full of computers ‘driving’ the simulated blips of aircraft across the radar screens. To extend the life of the expensive electronics, the climate was controlled, and to save energy, the pre-cooled air was recycled – with it the bacteria, the viruses, and the airborne chemicals. I never had so many ‘sickies,’ i.e. days off work due to illness, than I had during that time. Worst of all, I wasn’t the only one. Where is the saving?

At a workplace, it is fairly easy to point the finger at circumstances that lead to outbreaks of certain disorders. At home, it is another story. We spend 90% of our time indoors, 65% of this time we are at home. The very young, the elderly and chronically ill people spend even more time in their homes.

Recent investigations found that the air people breathe in their homes is likely to be two to five times more polluted than the air they inhale outside. And, unfortunately, the pollution is not necessarily of the type someone can see or smell – other than the ‘pleasant’ smell of the new home.


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