The IAQ Fishbowl Effect

The reality is that every building is an enclosed environment. Whatever goes into the building does not always leave.  Take for example pesticides.  These are low-level toxins, right?  Otherwise, the pest control products would not kill the insects.  So, regardless of the minute amount of toxic ingredients, they accumulate over time in the building.

It is the second principle statement of NAQI that every building is getting progressively worse ... year after year.  This should be self-evident but happens in such small and obscure ways as to go completely unnoticed.  Every chemical product is compounded from a variety of ingredients.  Once out of the bottle and applied to a building, those ingredients do not disappear after application.

The cleaning products, fragrances, pesticides, and polishes contribute to the building composition.  Pollutants can be brought into the building from the outside.  Even the fresh air supply to your HVAC system brings in some outside pollution.  

Indoor air quality studies have proven that building materials, furniture, paint, and solvents are substantial contributors of chemicals os toxic gases inside the building.  Formaldehyde is the most common chemical concern from building materials.  Formaldehyde is used to quickly dry all types of products.  

Paints, glues, varnishes, and solvents are strong chemicals that are literally embedded into the building itself.  Add to the air concoction, the particulates that are floating around or laying in hidden areas and we will find lead, asbestos, and other unfriendly materials.

The accumulation of all these "little things" can become a big health problem for people spending a substantial portion of their life in the building.  But, there is yet another concern called "biomagnification".  Biomagnification means that the combination of all these ingredients can actually be much worse than anyone chemical threat.

Other items in the building can be like a bowl of peanuts at the desk of a peanut-sensitive person.  Various kinds of plastics, fibers, soaps, perfumes, and types of chemicals in common products.  While most people in the building are unaffected, people with chemical sensitivities will exhibit mild to severe reactions.

For example, when the cleaning service strips and refinishes the hard floors in your building, the strong chemicals used to strip the floor may cause workers to react the next day.  For a normal person, they will smell a "Clean Smell", but sensitive people will feel their throat tighten and waves of nausea.  

Building owners and managers have a clear duty to protect the health and wellbeing of workers.  It is advised that every business or workplace bring in an IAQ Specialist to conduct basic testing and a survey recommended by the Department of Labor and OSHA.