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How Bad Indoor Air Quality Affects Your Brain

How healthy is the air in your workplace?

That’s the question many of us are asking now Protect yourself from Covid-19.. However, the quality of the air in the room should also be discussed long after the pandemic is over. Not only does the quality of the air in the workplace affect Days of sick leave You take it every year, which may even affect how well your brain works in the office.

New research shows Poor air quality in the room is associated with many subtle impairments of cognitive function, such as the ability to centralize and process information. The study followed 302 office workers in commercial buildings in six countries, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, India, Mexico and Thailand, for 12 months.

Scientists used monitors to measure ventilation and indoor air quality inside the building. This includes levels of particulate matter such as smoking, cleaning agents, and dust and microparticles from outdoor air pollution that penetrates buildings. Workers were asked to use the app to take regular cognitive tests during working hours. In addition to simple math problems, the test includes tricky colors and word head exercises called the Stroop test, where words such as “blue” and “purple” are printed in green or red ink. Was there. (The test asks you to name the color of the ink, but our brain wants to read that word instead. Here you can try the Stroop test yourself.. )

Studies have shown that office workers in buildings with the worst indoor air quality tend to experience poor performance with brain teasers. The effect was not dramatic, but the findings are: The air we breathe affects the health of our brain.

“This study examined how several factors in the indoor environment directly affect our cognitive function and performance,” said Harvard Healthy Building Program Director and Lead Author of the Study. Joseph G. Allen said. “This study shows that the air you breathe at your desk at that moment affects your thinking.”

To date, building air quality control has focused primarily on energy efficiency and comfort, with little consideration for infection control or overall worker health. However, the pandemic has led many workplaces to take a closer look at indoor air quality. Fortunately, many of the changes being made to prevent the Covid-19 epidemic need to be made to improve overall air quality related to cognitive function and worker productivity. Same improvement.

“There is a new perception of how the indoor environment affects our health,” said Dr. Allen. A “healthy building” should not just be thought of as “what we do in the event of a covid or crisis.” From now on, it must be a new normal, no exception. “

Does your building do everything it needs to keep you safe? This week I’ve been among some of the world’s leading air quality experts Six questions about Covid and air quality at work.

In general, you’ll want to hear that building ventilation filters have been upgraded to at least MERV 11, but MERV 13, which is an indicator of filtration efficiency, is desirable. I would also like to know if the building manager is taking steps to increase the outside air or if a portable air purifier has been added to the space. Be careful if someone can’t improve the ventilation system of the building or tell you they are using new, unproven technology.

Just adding a portable air purifier with a HEPA filter in the center of the room can make a meaningful difference in an office where the ventilation system is inefficient, Dr. Allen said. The key to choosing an air cleaner is to choose the right device for the size of your room. Dr. Allen recommends choosing an air purifier with a CADR of 300 for every 500 square feet of floor space in a typical workspace. This is about the same as changing the air in the room every 15. Minutes. Wirecutter, a product review site owned by The Times, has some useful things. Review of portable air purifiers.

Dr. Allen is a co-author of a new book.Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Promote Performance and Productivity.He said it was encouraged to see more businesses and individuals take indoor air quality more seriously as a result of the pandemic. Recently, he saw a job listing at a major company promoting the company’s global real estate division, “Healthy Building Manager.”

“It tells you that serious companies are changing the way they approach their buildings, and they don’t consider this as a temporary thing during Covid,” Dr. Allen said. rice field.

Some of the technical details about air quality can be confusing, but don’t be afraid. You don’t have to be a ventilation expert to determine if the precautions your employer is taking are sufficient to keep you safer during a pandemic and in the future.

“The pressure comes from employees, parents of school children and teachers. The level of awareness and expertise is increasing,” said Dr. Allen. “How many people were talking about the MERV 13 filter before the pandemic? This knowledge that our indoor space has slowed performance never disappears. People are naturally frustrated and fed up. I think you are. “

Learn how to talk about indoor air quality:
6 Questions to Ask About Covid and Air Quality at Work


Flash hood warning Is becoming more common, Even in areas that have never experienced a serious flood. Flash floods can occur quicklyWithin hours or minutes, that is, we all need to be prepared for them. I was particularly interested in reading this week about how to stay safe in the car during flash floods.

Almost half of the deaths from flash floods Do not ignore barriers or try to pass through flooded areas as they are related to the vehicle. Only 12 inches of water You can float your car and the 18 inch can carry your SUV or pickup truck.

That said, if your car gets caught in a flood, roll the windows first, said emergency healthcare professionals, rescue workers, and founder Lynn Bartchel. Wimberley rescue training..If they weren’t upset, he recommended breaking the glass with an escape tool (like) What is in this wire cutter guide, Can be stored in the accessory case) or Metal pole of headrest as ram.. Burttschell said it was important to open the windows. “If the water keeps rising, the car will fill up and the float will look like a rock rather than floating downstream.”

Then take off your seatbelts and grab your seatbelts as you climb the roof and call 911, Burttschell advised. Do your best to stay by the car until help arrives. Lying on the roof, keep it stable and do not tie it to the car in case it rolls.

Burttschell found that in his 32 years of career, people who stay with a car survive at a much higher rate than those who abandon it just because paramedics are easier to find than people. Did. “I really don’t recommend leaving the car,” he said. To make yourself more prominent, you can turn on the hazard lights, activate the car alarm with the key fob, and even sound the horn if possible.

Read more about flash floods:
How to stay safe during flash floods


I really enjoy the wire cutter series “Clean everything.” Learn how to clean cast iron frying pans, laptops, bed pillows and more.You can also subscribe CleanEverything newsletter.

learn more:
How to clean glasses


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Vigorously!



How Bad Indoor Air Quality Affects Your Brain

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