How unhealthy is your building and its neighborhood?

July 15, 2008 at 11:11 pm 2 comments

One of the things that facility managers have to worry about is the overall health effects of the work place they are maintaining. This is usually considered monitoring the indoor air quality and checking to make sure there isn’t any mold contamination.

However try as hard as you can it is generally fiscally impossible to raise the air quality greatly above the levels found in the outside air.  I am sure that it can be done but I am not suggesting that we treat commercial office space like we would a clean room. The trend is to use more outside air as part of the air conditioning system rather than less, so monitoring or at least investigating what is going on outside your building is important.

Of course the local weather forecasting sites often include the local air quality.  The one I like best is:

Weather Underground:http://www.wunderground.com/

and they have a great explainer on air pollution: http://www.wunderground.com/health/airpollution.asp

Now in your general neighborhood there may be specific and somewhat localized sources of pollution and irritants.  I once was responsible for a building that had an asphalt plant and a concrete mixing facility within 2 blocks.  This contributed quite a lot of dust that had to be taken care of by the janitorial contractor as well as potential other issues like the one in Riverside County, California: http://www.pe.com/localnews/environment/stories/PE_News_Local_R_cement18.3e6e09f.html In this case potentially hazardous levels of a cancer causing substance into the surrounding areas.

Now you could go drive around the local area and try to map out the potential hazards and I would encourage you to do this for this and other reasons.  It is always good to have an idea of what is going on around you from a emergency standpoint and from an availability of vendors local to you. However the USEPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has an excellent overlay file generator for Google Earth which can show you most of the items of concern.  The file creator and instructions are here: http://www.epa.gov/air/emissions/where.htm#tfmt and Google Earth can be found here: http://earth.google.com/userguide/v4/

Lastly we could all ask our elected officials for a system similar to that found in a part of Paris France where there is a large helium filled balloon that changes colors in response to changes in air quality.  The article on this can be found at Ecogeek.org: http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1879/79/

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: Environment, Maintenance. Tags: , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Saper Winnipeg  |  July 15, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    In many cases of sick building syndrome it is very hard to diagnose out the culprits
    Its almost like lead poisoning in being just so insidious
    What are the tie ins ? What are the changes ?
    How do you figure out what the total causes and influences are
    Its often not one pathogen or chemical but the synergy of the whole

    Reply
  • 2. Hex Pro  |  July 17, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Pests also contribute to the unhealthy environments of our communities. Rodents carry diseases such as the Hanta Virus, mosquitoes carry malaria and West Nile Virus, Cockroaches cause allergies and spread ecoli.

    So when considering initiatives for a healthier environment for our friends and neighbors, professional pest management should be another key factor.

    Pest Professionals have come a long way in environmentally sound solutions to a variety of pest concerns. Through Integrated Pest Management and other methods of control, the professionals at Hex Pro in Phoenix Arizona are confident that they can protect the health and property of your community members.

    Reply

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