Pollutants released into the air, as opposed to land and water pollutants, are the most detrimental. Air pollution is the fourth largest threat to human health behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking. Inhaling polluted air takes away at least 1-2 years of typical human life. Tiny particles know as PM2.5, have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers can penetrate deep into the lungs and cardio vascular system, increasing the risk of death. WHO guidelines state annual average concentrations of PM2.5 should be below 10 micrograms (mcg) per cubic meter, but the vast majority of the World’s population is living in areas exceeding this limit.
It is a paradoxical inkling that we mull over with the air quality indoor and outdoor. But it’s a ponderable peril that the air quality within and around the buildings affect us than the external environment. Indoor air pollution is 2-5 times worse than the air outdoors. This is because contained areas enable the potential pollutants to build up more than open spaces do and is far more concentrated. The present day men’s lifestyle and activities impassively laid the way for the mold and mildew to infest far and wide. It is a peaceful war that we stay in a polluted indoor. Spilling the beans, it depends upon how we caulk our doors and gaps, inadequately maintained heating systems, insufficient outdoor air intake, increased number of occupants and time spent indoor and the presence of materials such as glues, fiberglass, particle boards, paints, moulds or fungi, bacteria, gases, vapors, odors, dust mites and chemicals, etc.
Indoor Air Quality became a significant health and safety concern. Understanding and curbing the pollutants indoor will help us relegate the health risks. Health effects from indoor air pollutants may blow the whistle on our health momentarily or possibly years later. Some health effects may show up shortly after single exposure or repeated exposures to a pollutant. The symptoms include:
• Dryness and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin,
• Shortness of breath
• Hypersensitivity and allergies
• Sinus congestion
• Coughing and sneezing
In long term and repeated periods of exposure may upshot some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer which can be severely debilitating or fatal. Pragmatically it is prudent to try to improve the Indoor Air Quality even if symptoms are not noticeable. While pollutants commonly found in indoor air can cause many harmful effects, there is a considerable uncertainty about the amount of concentration and the periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems. People also react differently to exposure to indoor air pollutants.
Titivation of Indoor Air Quality
Explicitly from the workstation design, source of contamination, ventilation and cleaning the air, we need to work to spruce up the total Indoor Air Quality. At the point of source of contamination, it has to be contained by sealing or enclosing. This prevents contact or exposure to the contaminant. The next is trimming down the concentration of the contaminant by the installation of attic fans, air to air windows and doors to allow the contamination diluted up by allowing a space to the natural air. Through mechanical means such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) also we can improve the air quality. For the heavier contaminants we can have the Local Exhaust Ventilation systems, and air purifying systems installed.
Industrial hygienists and designers have to juxtapose together to attain health and safety of the air quality. As per European Norms (EN), EN149 states, despite the fact that the design and technical measures are applied, for some industrial applications such as construction, agricultural and pharmaceuticals, respiratory protective equipment’s such as FFP1, FFP2, FFP3 for filtering heavy ambient particulate matters, for simple non oil based particulates dust, iron ore, coal, flour, metal, wood and pollen N95,N99, N100( not resistant to oil) and for solid or liquid aerosol particulates R95 ( resistant to oil), P95, P100 (oil proof) and for various gas particulates different filters are also used. There are 9 classes of particulate filters are used. Various Air-Purifying Respirators (APRs), Supplied –Air Respirators (SARs) and Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBAs) are also used widely up on the specific requirement.
Far and wide it is capitulated to restrain the inhalation of the ambient particulate matters in the domestic and workplace indoor atmosphere with the help of various personal hygiene and housekeeping practices, proper layout and ventilation, improved air condition and usage of respiratory protective equipments to warrant the health and safety.
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Green World Group