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Clear the air at work to boost productivity this Clean Air Day

Air pollution - described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the single largest environmental health risk faced today, doesn't just affect us when we're standing by a road or in the middle of a city. In fact, a recent Lancet study found that every year, 800,000 people across the world die from poor air quality at work - including in offices.

More people die from conditions caused by air pollution than from traffic incidents, HIV and diabetes combined. It's described as an invisible killer, causing conditions like lung cancer, acute lower respiratory infection, stroke, ischaemic heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In total, air pollution accounts for 4.6 million deaths each year.

There's no escape

Few people realise that indoor air can actually be more polluted than the air outside. Prashant Kumar of the University of Surrey, who co-authored a study of indoor air in the journal Science of the Total Environment, said: “When we think of the term ‘air pollution,’ we tend to think of car exhausts or factory fumes expelling grey smoke. However, there are actually various sources of pollution that have a negative effect on air quality, many of which are found inside our homes and offices. From cooking residue to paints, varnishes and fungal spores, the air we breathe indoors is often more polluted than that outside.”

What does this do?

Apart from causing disease and cutting lifespans, poor air quality can impact our health immediately. Signs that you might be breathing in poor quality air right now include:

  • dryness and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin
  • headache
  • trouble concentrating
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • hypersensitivity and allergies
  • sinus congestion
  • coughing and sneezing
  • dizziness
  • nausea

You will usually notice these symptoms a few hours into the day, and feel relief once you've left the building. This phenomenon is so common that there's an official name for it: sick building syndrome (SBS), and it's usually a result of poor building design and ventilation.

Why should employers take note?

If the air quality is bad, work will suffer. When it comes to employee health and wellbeing, we tend to focus more on obvious factors like posture, nutrition, work-life balance and activity levels. We can book DSE assessments, buy ergonomic equipment and encourage staff to take active breaks with various incentives. But how do we control something that we can't even see?

Let the machines do it for us

The answer, as usual, lies in technology. Specifically, the AeraMax® PRO - a wall-mounted air filter that not only constantly monitors the surrounding environment to determine the level of airborne contaminants, but adjusts its own settings automatically to filter out 99.9% of pollutants, controlling odour, reducing the spread of germs and drastically improving the quality of air for those using the room.

Here's a video with more information about how AeraMax® works in different environments:

To raise awareness of Global Action Plan's Clean Air Day campaign (20 June), we're knocking 15% off AeraMax® air purifiers throughout the month. All you have to do is contact our AeraMax® expert Leon, who will help you with choosing the right size and type of unit for your environment. Call him on 07920 494926, or email [email protected].