It’s a myth that pollution is restricted to the outdoors. The truth is that the indoors can often be more polluted than outside. Thus, it’s necessary to enhance the indoor air quality (IAQ).
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is the quality of air inside a closed area that affects the health and well-being of the occupants.
Awareness on IAQ and its impact on health and productivity are rapidly growing. It’s important to improve the air quality inside the space we spend 90% of our time. While, good indoor air quality in general ensures comfort in a work environment, it also improves the attentiveness of an individual and thus enhances their productivity.
The concentration of the indoor air pollutants can be higher than outdoors. Indoor Pollutants are of two types.
The more harmful pollutants among the two are VOCs. As per WHO guidelines for indoor air quality selected pollutants 2010, “Formaldehyde can be quantified as a very specific indoor pollutant”
In some cases, bad IAQ also leads to Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).
The sick building syndrome comprises of various non-specific symptoms that occur to the occupants of a building. This feeling of ill health increases sickness, absenteeism and causes a decrease in productivity. As this syndrome is increasingly becoming a major occupational hazard, the cause, management and prevention of this condition is critical.
The sources of poor IAQ are the VOCs and improper ventilation in closed space. Among the VOCs, formaldehyde is a significant aldehyde that is present in the highest concentration.
Sources of Formaldehyde:
Formaldehyde is emitted from various sources in different spaces and gets harmful in several climatic conditions.
Occupant related activities and products
Building materials and furnishings
Poorly maintained ventilation systems
Sensory irritation to
eyes, nose and lung
Designing of Indoor Air Quality
3 factors have to be considered to improve indoor air quality
Most indoor spaces are more polluted than outdoor. There can be different pollutants in indoor environment and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are one of them. VOCs are a broad category in which formaldehyde is one of the major pollutants.
In many cases, it is observed that indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air. The air inside could be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoors.
Bad indoor quality may lead to symptoms like Coughing, Sneezing, Watery eyes, Fatigue, Dizziness, Headaches, Upper respiratory congestion.