Indoor Air Resources

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The Impact of IAQ on Health and Productivity

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By: Susan  |   01.08.13

Bad news – the buildings we work and live in are making us sick.

Don’t just take our word for it; the Consumer Product Safety Commission connects 150 commonly used chemicals to conditions like allergies, birth defects, cancer and psychological disorders.

IAQ has emerged as a real issue at home and in the workplace. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology notes that 50 percent of all illnesses are either caused or aggravated by poor IAQ. This means that poor indoor air quality is more than just a nuisance; it’s costly to human health, safety and productivity and it’s costly for business.

Total costs to the U.S. economy from poor IAQ range as high as $168 billion per year. Numerous studies place average productivity losses due to poor IAQ between three and seven percent (or higher), with individual productivity losses of 33 percent. As a result of these startling statistics, building owners and tenants are becoming increasingly aware of the bottom line benefits of improving Indoor Air Quality.
Building owners can use superior IAQ as a way of attracting and retaining tenants. Benefits to tenants include savings on health care costs, sick leave time and productivity. If you are one of the diligent owners/managers who has made this very real benefit/risk a priority in your building, it can be a real differentiator in the marketplace. If you are an employer it can turn your office or facility space into an exceptional workplace.

The key is education and communication about how superior IAQ impacts health, productivity and safety. Prospects and tenants will reward you for your investment and commitment to their well-being. For property managers and owners regular HVAC maintenance, improving intake control through HVAC instrumentation and ventilation design, and use of adequate high-efficiency air filters are just some of the steps businesses can take to improve IAQ. As a first step, a filter upgrade is one of the least expensive alternatives to improve IAQ.

The filtration experts here at Kimberly-Clark Professional will explore these processes and topics further in future postings. We look forward to receiving your comments and to engaging in conversations on the topic of Indoor Air Quality as we work together towards a healthier, safer, more productive workplace.

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