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Since Covid-19, there is even more attention for indoor air quality. It might be possible that poor ventilation may contribute to the spread of the coronavirus. In any case, some contaminations are already known to decrease indoor air quality. Poor Humidity, Temperature, CO2 and TVOC conditions may be the cause. It influences productivity, leads to less sense of comfortability and well-being and can cause sickness. Beat poor indoor Air Quality with data science.

Indoor concentration of pollution often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor

Did you ever wonder where you are most exposed to air pollution? Somewhere outside, you say? Wrong, you breath the most polluted air… indoors! Research shows, that people spend 90% of their time indoors. Isolation and modern heating have brought us comfy, warm indoor environments: home, work, recreation, etc., with no cold air coming from under the doors or through windows. However, in many buildings there is a downside. With the tightly enclosed indoor environments, pollution caused indoors or coming from outside has no opportunity to mingle with fresh air. For viruses, heat and certain levels of humidity are perfect environments to stay active.

Pollution may lead to:

  • Irritation of the throat, nose and eyes, such as a dry throat
  • Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue
  • Respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer

Covid-19

Besides, the Covid-19 virus is spreading. Since Covid-19, there is a lot of attention for indoor door quality. Besides social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands, good ventilation is one of the measures to reduce the risk of infection indoors.

CO2 and TVOC measurement for well-being and productivity

Indoor air quality is depending on… inside and outside factors… Besides temperature and humidity, 2 other factors for indoor air quality are CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compounds).

CO2 originates when people breathe, sweat and in all other occasions where there is a burning process involved. CO2 concentration has to remains less than 800 PPM. At higher concentrations people begin to suffer.

Besides, many substances are also source of contamination like cleaning products, paints, varnishes, furniture and glues. These are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s). Immediate complaints may be symptoms headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation and bad odors. Long term exposure may lead in large doses can damage liver, nervous systems and kidneys.

The impaction of the combination of CO2 and TVOC is even larger. A study shows: “On average, cognitive scores were 61% higher on the Green building day and 101% higher on the two Green+ building days than on the Conventional building day.” 

Data Science helps you to maintain healthy and productive air quality

Temperature and Ventilation are more important than ever. Regulate your temperature to obtain a comfortable and healthy environment. Replace bad air with fresh air from outside. By ventilation or just by opening a window.

When you’re busy, keeping an eye on working conditions may be easily ignored. Sensors which measure temperature and humidity like the Airmex help you to maintain your indoor air quality such, that the risk of spreading the viruses is as least as possible They also help you to keep a comfortable, healthy and productive environment. It warns you on an app when you should adjust your room temperature or when you should ventilate. Those signals are based on data science and based on guidelines as the ASHRAE Standard 55 – Thermal Environmental conditions for Human Occupancy.

Find out how the Airmex can help you.

Did you ever wonder where you are most exposed to air pollution? Somewhere outside, you say? Wrong, you breath the most polluted air… indoors! Research shows, that people spend 90% of their time indoors. Isolation and modern heating have brought us comfy, warm indoor environments: home, work, recreation, etc., with no cold air coming from under the doors. However, in many buildings there is a downside. With the tightly enclosed indoor environments, pollution caused indoors or coming from outside has no opportunity to mingle with fresh air. For viruses, heat and certain levels of immunity are perfect environments to stay active. Besides, the Covid-19 virus is spreading.

Indoor concentration of pollution often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor

Research on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) site shows:

  • “Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors,1 where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.2
  • People who are often most susceptible to the adverse effects of pollution (e.g., the very young, older adults, people with cardiovascular or respiratory disease) tend to spend even more time indoors.3
  • Indoor concentrations of some pollutants have increased in recent decades due to such factors as energy-efficient building construction (when it lacks sufficient mechanical ventilation to ensure adequate air exchange) and increased use of synthetic building materials, furnishings, personal care products, pesticides, and household cleaners.”

Why is air quality important?

You probably know the irritation of eyes or a dry troath yourself. Indoor air pollution can have serious health effects, ranging from irritation of your eyes to respiratory diseases:

  • Irritation of the throat, nose and eyes, such as a dry throat
  • Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue
  • Respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer

Indoor concentration of pollution often 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor

“The link between some common indoor air pollutants (e.g., radon, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, Legionella bacterium) and health effects is very well established.

  • Radon is a known human carcinogen and is the second leading cause of lung cancer.4, 5
  • Carbon monoxide is toxic, and short-term exposure to elevated carbon monoxide levels in indoor settings can be lethal.6
  • Episodes of Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia caused by exposure to the Legionella bacterium, have been associated with buildings with poorly maintained air conditioning or heating systems.7, 8
  • Numerous indoor air pollutants—dust mites, mold, pet dander, environmental tobacco smoke, cockroach allergens, particulate matter, and others—are “asthma triggers,” meaning that some asthmatics might experience asthma attacks following exposure.9

While adverse health effects have been attributed to some specific pollutants, the scientific understanding of some indoor air quality issues continues to evolve. …

One example is “sick building syndrome,” which occurs when building occupants experience similar symptoms after entering a particular building, with symptoms diminishing or disappearing after they leave the building. These symptoms are increasingly being attributed to a variety of building indoor air attributes.

Researchers also have been investigating the relationship between indoor air quality and important issues not traditionally thought of as related to health, such as student performance in the classroom and productivity in occupational settings.10

Solutions like the Covid Airmex can help you to monitor your temperature, humidity, tvoc and co2, for a safe and healthy working environment

When we think of air quality, people mostly think of the outside world, smog from cars and industry or the fresh air of woods. However, 90% of our daily life is spent indoors: our home, workplace, public buildings and schools. Indoor quality is one of the most important components of well-being, feeling comfortable in a room.  Besides, bad air quality has implications on your productivity and may even harm your health. The Volatile organic components (VOC) may be the least known.

TVOCS affects the wellbeing, feeling comfortable and health

TVOCs affect your sense off wellbeing and if you feel comfortable inside a building. Some VOC’s are even bad for health. Some VOCs are more harmful than others. If a TVOC is harmful also depend on factors as level of exposure and length of time being exposed. Besides, some people -especially children and elderly people- have a higher sensibility then others. Immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to VOCs are eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders and memory impairment. An example: some people get immediately a headache from being in a room which is just painted. Others may find the smell just uncomfortable.

TVOCs can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Coordination loss
  • Fatigue
  • Some VOC’s (as toluene) cause irritation at normal levels, eg allergic skin reactions
  • Bad odor and stale air are uncomfortable and affect people’s feeling of cleanliness
  • Some VOC’s as formaldehyde can cause cancer. VOC’s for a long-term exposure in large doses can damage liver, nervous system and kidneys

What is TVOC?

What is TVOC? TVOC means Total Volatile Organic compounds. Volatile organic compounds are organic chemicals that become a gas at room temperature. There are thousands of VOCs and a multiple of VOC’s are at the same time present. Therefore, the Total VOC is used at most times: measuring the concentration of the total of VOC’s This is easier and less expensive then measuring individual VOC’s.

Some examples of VOC’s are:

  • Benzene
  • Ethylene glycol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Methylene chloride
  • Tetrachloroethylene
  • Toluene

Where do you find VOC’s?

VOC’s come from many sources, even yourself can be a polluter!

  • Products
  • Outside world

VOC in Products

Many VOC’s come from:

  • Cleaners and disinfectants
  • Pesticides
  • Air fresheners
  • Paints and solvents
  • Glue
  • New furniture and carpets
  • Construction materials
  • Electronic devices
  • Plywood

So, some VOC’s may come from everyday life, especially found in sprays and aerosols from cleaners and such. Besides, new construction and renovation may cause significant health concerns. Construction materials, but also the new furniture, carpets and plywood may increase the indoor concentration of VOC’s due to off-gassing. Until the off-gassing has declined, those new products may cause serious threats to your well-being. You can be a polluter yourself, however often far less dangerous then products do.

VOC in the outside world

Vehicle exhaust and indusstry pollution may also cause bad indoor air quality when the polluted air can enter the building due to open windows or air condition that doesn’t work properly. Especially when the building stands in congested or industrial areas.

Are all VOC’s harmful?

“EPA’s Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) studies found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. Additional TEAM studies indicate that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.” (What are volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?, EPA,  https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/what-are-volatile-organic-compounds-vocs)

TVOC can be measured in micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) of air (or milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3), parts per million (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb)). The table below shows that less than 0.3 mg/m3 are considered low TVOC concentration levels. And levels between 0.3 mg/m3 to 0.5 mg/m3 are acceptable.

TVOC Level mg/m3Level of Concern
Less than 0.3 mg/m3Low
0.3 to 0.5 mg/m3Acceptable
0.5 to 1 mg/m3Marginal
1 to 3 mg/m3High
TVOC Level mg/m3 and Level of Concern

The ASN Airmex measures the TVOC in your building, for a safe and comfortable indoor air quality