Could your office be to blame for making you sick? This article refers to a recent study that found certain types of furniture, carpet and paint can contain harmful chemicals called PFCs, or polyfluorinated compounds. These chemicals are so widespread that 95 percent of Americans have been found to carry at least some level in their blood. The workplace, however, was the environment found to have the highest amount of PFCs in the air.
Interestingly enough, the study found that employees working in the buildings with the newest carpet, paint, and furniture showed more exposure to PFCs than employees working in buildings with older office surroundings. If you find yourself in the position of purchasing new carpet, paint, or furniture for your workspace, it could be worth asking the manufacturer whether there are any known substances in the materials that could be harmful in high level of exposure.
Chemical exposure isn't the only risk of working in an office environment. Offices are also breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria. Here are some things you can do to avoid catching germs in the workplace:
- Keep a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer at your desk and use it periodically throughout the day.
- If you use a shared computer or phone, wipe down items like the computer mouse and phone receiver regularly with an antibacterial wipe.
- In restrooms, use automatic flush, sinks, soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers where available. The less contact your skin has with these items, the better.
- In the office kitchenette, appoint one person per week to clean surfaces such as countertops, sink faucets, and handles on the refrigerator, microwave and coffeepot. General housekeeping may not be cleaning these items.
- In your corporate fitness center, clean all machines and other equipment before and after use.
- Exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet to boost your immune system no matter where you go!