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Your Photocopier and Indoor Air Quality

Posted in Air Quality, on September 20, 2017

If you work in an office, it’s likely you have a photocopier somewhere nearby. Ubiquitous in the modern office, this machine can be your best tool when getting your work done - when it’s working that is. Most now also function as fax machine, scanners, and staplers, but they can also be a significant source of indoor air quality pollution in your home or workplace. As indoor air quality becomes a more mainstream concern, don’t forget the indoor air quality of your office is just as important at home - after all, if you’re spending 8 hours a day there, making sure that you have high indoor air quality could have a huge impact on your short and long-term health.

Indoor air quality can affect your health in a number of ways, but your eyes, nose, and lungs are most frequently affected. Airborne pollutants in your indoor air quality can cause lung inflammation or aggravate lung conditions, and cause you to experience itchy, watery eyes or a congested nose. Coughing, sneezing, and even fatigue and dizziness are also common symptoms of poor indoor air quality. If you experience any of these symptoms only when you’re at work, it could be something in the office causing you distress.

The photocopier, as an essential amenity in the office, is often placed centrally, where it can be easily accessed by the most people at once, or tucked away in a small room where the noise and disruption it can cause are minimized. Despite its usefulness, the photocopier is also a source of indoor air quality pollution, emitting toner particles, toxic gasses such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and other VOCs, and even radiation and low frequency electromagnetic fields.

Toner particles and other fine particulate matter in your indoor air quality can cause lung irritation, and while not found to be carcinogenic, rats exposed to high doses of toner have displayed a greater frequency of lung tumours. Gasses such as ozone can worsen bronchitis, asthma, and other lung conditions. Keeping these indoor air quality contaminants out of your office environment may be tough - until technology improves so much that paper is never needed, you’ll still find photocopiers hanging around.

But the good news is that your office indoor air quality can be easily improved by making sure your photocopier is placed right and that it is in good repair. If your photocopier is in the main office, placing it near an air vent will help improve your indoor air quality by providing fresh air to help keep pollutants from sticking around. In a small room, making sure the ventilation is adequate and not blocked by debris or dust will go a long way to improving the indoor air quality in the room.

As you can tell, ventilation is the key word when making sure your photocopier isn’t harming your office indoor air quality - beyond office machinery, good ventilation will help keep the frequency of cold and flu viruses taking out half the office down and also improve efficiency and working hours. Frequent air changes and a good air filtration system also go a long way in improving indoor air quality in an office.

If you have any questions about improving the indoor air quality in your office, or how your photocopier might be affecting you, please give SafeAir a call at 416-414-5690, and we’d be happy to discuss with you your indoor air quality needs.

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