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.