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Question
Posted by: Chantelle | 2010/04/08

Indoor air quality

I recently started a new job with a corporate company and work in an office block. I''ve noticed the effects of the air conditioned environment in my concentration levels, irritability, moods and even on my skin.

I''ve spoken to other employees about this, wondering if I''m the only person experiencing this, but it doesn''t seem to be a concern.

Are there means to have the air tested without following the corporate process?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageEnviroHealth expert

Some people are more sensitive to the effects of air con, and the symptoms you describe could well be caused by it. It's unfortunately a notoriously difficult problem to sort out, because there is nearly always disagreement on issues like what is optimal indoor temperature! This may be cold comfort, but your body is likely to need a period of adjustment to the new environment. (I went through this process myself when I started working more in an air-con office; I still get symptoms but very mildly.)
Air quality testing should be done by a professional, and it isn't generally the first step in sorting out an indoor air problem. There aren't really standards for office building air quality (other than extreme and very obvious parameters), so it's not so useful.
What you can do is find out when the system was last checked - it should be at least annually; and of course the building must be kept clean and any damp/ mould kept in check. I would also really recommend taking breaks outside the office e.g. at lunch time - outdoor air, even polluted city air, is usually better quality than indoor air. I used to have to do this several times during the day and it was very effective.

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Our users say:
Posted by: EnviroHealth Expert | 2010/04/09

Some people are more sensitive to the effects of air con, and the symptoms you describe could well be caused by it. It's unfortunately a notoriously difficult problem to sort out, because there is nearly always disagreement on issues like what is optimal indoor temperature! This may be cold comfort, but your body is likely to need a period of adjustment to the new environment. (I went through this process myself when I started working more in an air-con office; I still get symptoms but very mildly.)
Air quality testing should be done by a professional, and it isn't generally the first step in sorting out an indoor air problem. There aren't really standards for office building air quality (other than extreme and very obvious parameters), so it's not so useful.
What you can do is find out when the system was last checked - it should be at least annually; and of course the building must be kept clean and any damp/ mould kept in check. I would also really recommend taking breaks outside the office e.g. at lunch time - outdoor air, even polluted city air, is usually better quality than indoor air. I used to have to do this several times during the day and it was very effective.

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