A large part of the population of developed countries, spend a lot of time "locked" in buildings whose air quality depends exclusively on the quality of the air filters of the ventilation system or air conditioning that equip such buildings.
This gives us an idea of the capital importance that those filtering elements take when taking care of our health, the health of the people who live or work in these buildings and enclosed spaces.
Sick building syndrome (SEE)
It was around the year 19970 when the World Health Organization defined the Sick Building Syndrome as a set of diseases originated or stimulated by air pollution in these closed spaces.
It is a set of discomforts and diseases caused by poor ventilation, decompensation of temperatures, particles in suspension, gases and vapors of chemical origin and bioaerosols, among other causal agents identified.
The type of discomforts that produce and stimulate these situations is varied: headaches, nausea, dizziness, persistent colds, irritations of the respiratory tract, skin and eyes, etc. Among these discomforts, allergies play an important role.
The factors that contribute to the syndrome are related to the design of the built environment, and may include combinations of some or all of the following causes:
• Indoor air pollution.
• Artificial perfumes.
• Poor, inappropriate and even excessive lighting (including lack of access to natural light). Excessive lighting generates reflections on the work screens of administrative positions.
• Poor heating or cooling of the rooms and / or ventilation.
• Poor positioning of heating and air conditioning systems.
• Bad acoustics.
• Poor furniture and equipment designs (e.g. PC monitors, photocopiers, etc.).
• Poor ergonomics.
• Chemical contamination.
• Biological contamination.
To the owner or operator of a "sick building", symptoms may include high levels of sick or absent employees, low productivity, low job satisfaction and high turnover of employees.
The main solution is to review the air filters of the ventilation or air conditioning system and have the help of professionals in air filtration such as VENFILTER.
The removal of sources of pollutants or their modification: maintenance of systems, replacement of ceilings, walls and folders sealed to water, institution of severe restrictions on smoking, storage of sources of pollutant emissions from paints, adhesives, solvents, pesticides; or at least in very well ventilated areas, and the use of those pollutants during periods of non-occupation.
Changing the positioning of the cold and heat sources, as well as the air renewal systems indirectly so that they are never on the heads or on the bodies of the people who live in the rooms.
Acquiring an air purifier.
Creating basic rules so that the environmental conditions for stays in which several people have to live with logical criteria of air quality:
• Air renewal
The ideal temperature will be around 22-24º with a humidity index that does not create the feeling of overwhelm.
A little history
In 1970 the World Health Organization (WHO) began to detect health problems in some people, arising from prolonged stay in certain buildings, which mostly had all the same characteristics.
Health professionals determined that it was not only the persistence of diseases that were already known, but also the appearance of other new diseases that significantly deteriorate the health and comfort conditions inside such buildings.
This is what is called the Sick Building Syndrome (SEE), which usually appears more frequently in office buildings. According to the World Health Organization, the buildings that suffer from it have a series of common characteristics:
- They have a forced ventilation system common to the entire building or to very large sectors.
- They usually have the air renewal intakes located in inadequate places and sometimes with inadequate air filters or that are simply not checked with the necessary periodicity.
- They are usually buildings in which lightweight and inexpensive building systems have been used in order to save.
- Interior living surfaces are largely covered with carpet-like textiles on floors, walls and some decorative elements.
- Energy saving systems are used and its interior remains relatively warm with a homogeneous thermal environment.
- The environment is too confined since they are practically hermetic buildings that do not have windows that facilitate an additional natural ventilation.