air pollutants

What Are Some of the Most Common and Hazardous Air Pollutants?

Some of the most common and hazardous indoor air pollutants in commercial buildings include biological contaminants (bacteria, viruses, dust, mites, pollen, animal hair), formaldehyde, indoor particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can cause or lead to the development of respiratory infections, lung cancer, and chronic breathing diseases like asthma. Building occupants who already have lung disease are at even greater risk from poor IAQ. 

What are the Sources of Indoor Air Pollutants?

Hazardous indoor pollutants such as viruses and bacteria can spread by people via airborne transmission when somebody sneezes or coughs. Tiny droplets carrying these contaminants can linger in the air for hours or spread on high-touch surfaces like light switches. Inhaling viruses or bacteria spread infectious agents such as coughs, colds, flu, tuberculosis, and more. 

Chemicals (including VOCs) from cleaning supplies can also cause health problems, even if they’re advertised as “eco-friendly” or “all natural.” VOCs that are released when using cleaning products can contribute to chronic respiratory issues, headaches, and allergic reactions, especially when an occupant has asthma or another respiratory illness. Cleaning products that contain VOCs and other toxic chemicals can include aerosol sprays, air fresheners, rug cleaners, furniture polish, and more.

One of the most common sources of biological contaminants is from central air handling systems, which can become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other biological contaminants such as biofilm and fouling. Wet and damp surfaces in HVAC systems contain the perfect conditions for mold spore growth, dust mites, viruses and bacteria, cockroaches, and other hazardous air pollutants, all of which can impact occupational health.

As a result, these contaminants can spread through your air conditioning system and into many areas of your facility.   

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indoor air quality

Why Does Measuring Indoor Air Quality Matter?

Why Does Measuring Indoor Air Quality Matter?

Measuring indoor air quality matters for your health because  poor IAQ can be especially dangerous for high-risk groups such as children, the elderly, or those suffering from chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. It has also been connected to sick building syndrome, building-related illnesses, reduced worker productivity, and decreased focus in schools.

People spend an average of about 90% of their time indoors, whether at home, work, school, or even in transportation. The quality of your air can impact the comfort and well-being of the people inside your facility and indoor air pollution consistently ranks as one of the top five environmental risk factors to public health. Did you know that nearly 3.8 million global deaths are the result of indoor pollution? Or that particulate matter causes numerous respiratory ailments such as decreased lung function, respiratory inflammation, and asthma?

The airborne spread of COVID-19 is one consideration that remains important in the indoor air quality conversation. Because only a handful of states currently have occupational safety and health codes that promote better indoor air quality in the workplace, COVID-19 transmission has hit certain industries such as manufacturing and long-term care facilities particularly hard. Manufacturing plants are one environment that foster particularly harmful indoor air quality conditions. To date, over 90,000 meatpacking, food processing and farm workers have suffered from workplace outbreaks of COVID-19. Ensuring that harmful particulates like viruses and other contaminants are removed from circulation in environments with poor ventilation – and being able to prove the resulting quality of the air – is becoming an increasingly important part of workplace safety.

You can measure the IAQ in your facility with ECOSENSE Platforms, using our innovative dashboards and air quality sensors that track, report, and collect HVAC system data points including temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and more. Facility managers who measure indoor air quality using our technology can provide safer and healthier workspaces for occupants while simultaneously realizing HVAC energy savings.

Have another question about Indoor Air Quality? Contact us today at 866-470-0827 or email your question to!

air quality

What is Indoor Air Quality?

indoor air quality hvacWhat is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to air conditions around and inside buildings and facilities, including but not limited to commercial offices, healthcare facilities, hotels, restaurants, event venues, and more. Indoor air quality is a component of indoor environmental quality (IEQ), including other physical and psychological aspects of life indoors, such as thermal comfort, acoustics, lighting, and visual quality. By taking a closer look at your indoor air quality and HVAC systems, you can offer a safer and healthier indoor environment for your customers and employees.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, facility managers and building owners are considering the relationship between indoor air quality, HVAC systems, and occupational health.  Microbial contaminants like bacteria and mold, radon, VOCs, particulates, and gases such as radon, can all affect the indoor air that travels through your building. OSHA reports that inadequate HVAC maintenance is a significant cause of poor IAQ, which can cause tiredness, headaches, mental fatigue, throat irritation, skin rashes, and more.

Chronic health issues such as asthma are often linked to HVAC systems and IAQ. Long-term exposure to certain contaminants may even lead to life-threatening illnesses, such as heart disease and lung cancer.

According to the EPA, 50% of all medical conditions are aggravated or caused by poor IAQ.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that poor IAQ costs businesses up to $168 billion annually, with absenteeism and medical care contributing to the bill.

Have another question about Indoor Air Quality? Contact us today at 866-470-0827 or email your question to!