The Brutal, Honest Truth about Indoor Air Quality at Work

guest post by Todd Simpson

I recently had the opportunity to test the air quality in a building. This building does light fabrication and the owner wanted to know if the inside air is a problem to their employees. Does breathing 10 trillion particulates sound like a problem? Let me explain.

Particles in the air we breathe

I use a Dylos machine to check the indoor air. There are two important numbers you need to know.

The first number is for small particles (2.5 microns or less) and the second number is for large particles (2.5 microns or greater).

The Dylos takes samples of the air and tells you how many particles are floating in the air per cm³. The reading for this building was 2,671 small particles and 127 large particles, for a total of 2,798 total particles per cm³.

A recent study by the California Air Resource Board showed the average adult breathes approximately 12,000 liters of air each day, and since most adults spend 9 out of 10 hours indoors, the air we breathe is important.

Here is why it is especially important.

The air quality in this building showed 2,798 floating particles per cm³ that employees are breathing in. According to my calculations, the average person breathes over 388 ft³ per day. Divide it by 24 and it is 16.17 feet³ of air each hour. If an employee spends 8 hours a day at work, then they are breathing in 129 feet³ of this air each day.

Now to the Dylos. This machine shows that there are a total of 2,798 contaminants/cm³ floating in the air:

  • 1 ft³ = 28,000 cm³

  • 129 ft³ of dirty air breathed each 8 hour day = 3,600,000 cm³ of air breathed by each employee over an 8 hour day.

  • 2,790 particles per cm³ x 3,600,000 cm³ of this indoor air.

This means that each employee is breathing in 10 TRILLION particulates each day at work. You are what you breathe: According to an article published on June 2nd, 2016 in Newsweek, your overall health can be ruined by the air you breathe at work.

Air quality at your job affects your health

indoor air quality at work

Why should you take notice of your air quality at work? Bad air can affect your life and your family members’ lives as well. Many of the particulates that we breathe in are brought home with us in our clothing. In addition, the air we breathe at work can have long lasting consequences for our health that may not be seen for years to come. The most recent studies show a link between indoor air quality and dementia, Alzheimer's, and heart disease. For your sake, and for your family’s sake, be careful of the air you breathe. 

There are many ways you can improve the quality of air you breathe. This article by Comfy Corner lists ten things you can do today.

Epilogue: 24 hours after a purification unit was installed, the Dylos numbers were reduced to 304/59 for a total of 363 particulates per cm³.

Todd Simpson, IONaer Business Development, has worked for several clean technology companies over the past 5 years. He is a married father of 6 and loves his kids so much that he wants to leave the world a better place for them and their kids. He loves hiking and biking with his family and has experienced the problems associated with bad air quality through his daughter, who has severe asthma. Since joining IONaer, his daughter has not needed the nebulizer she once frequently needed, and has only once used her inhaler at home. Contact Todd for more information at 480-465-1504.


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indoor air quality