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 Healthy Computing: Clean Air 
 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Healthy Computing Tips by . View all columns in series
Our working and home environments are furnished with many man-made durable materials, convenient appliances and equipment. Unfortunately, these modern necessities have a negative side-effect they contribute to indoor air pollution. Materials and equipment in office buildings and homes usually contain a chemical brew of volatile organic compounds (e.g., formaldehyde, benzene and tricholorethylene) that are outgassed from paper, inks, furniture, carpet, paints, wall coverings, cleaning materials, and floor tiles. This is particularly prevalent in new or newly renovated buildings where paints, carpets and sealants release various gasses, especially during the first few months after installation. These gasses often stay in the rooms where there is limited air circulation due to sealed buildings or closed windows during winter. Copiers and laser printers may add to, and activate, this mix by producing ozone. Indoor air pollution can sometimes be greater than outdoor. Reduce pollution and enhance your health when you make Clean Air.

HOW TO MAKE CLEAN AIR:

After renovation or installation of furniture or carpets, be sure to allow for air circulation by opening windows and doors.

Place plants in your office and home to help clear the indoor smog and remove the volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The following plants all mop-up VOCs and some gobble up specific chemicals in this brew.*

  • Azaleas, rubber plants, tulips, poinsettia, philodendron and bamboo palms (formaldehyde)
  • Areca palm (toluene)
  • Lady palm (ammonia)
  • Peace lily and chrysanthemum (acetone, methanol, trichlorethylene, benzene, ethylacetate)

Additional ways to improve air quality:

  • Ventilate your work area (open a window or door, if possible).
  • Move copier/laser printers to a well-ventilated space and/or place an exhaust fan near the printer.
  • Turn off copier or laser printers when not in use (purchase new equipment that is energy efficient and shuts down when not in use).
  • Install an air purifier/filter.

If you work in a sealed environment, take a walk at lunch or ask coworkers to have a walking meeting so that you can get out in the fresh air.

*Read: How To Grow Fresh Air by Bill Wolverton, Penguin, 1997.

Copyright 2003 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney
Permission to copy and distribute Healthy Computing Email Tips for personal use is granted. Distribution or copying of Healthy Computing Email Tips for commercial purposes is prohibited without prior written consent of the copyright holders

      
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 About The Author
Erik Peper, Ph.D. is an international authority on biofeedback and self-regulation. He is Professor and Co-Director of the Institute for Holistic Healing Studies, Department of Health Education, at San Francisco......moreErik Peper PhD
 
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