Squeaky Clean

Breath Of Fresh Air

Indoor air pollution has become one of the main environmental health threats of our day. How can you tell if you're suffering from sick-building syndrome? Symptoms include headaches; eye, nose or throat irritation; dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; difficulty in concentrating; fatigue; and sensitivity to odors. The causes include inadequate ventilation and chemical and biological contaminants.

It's virtually impossible to remove all chemical and biological contaminants, but increasing ventilation and air cleaning is an effective way to deal with the problem. Alan Cohen of Vornado Air Circulation Systems Inc., a manufacturer of air circulators, air purifiers, humidifiers and heaters in Wichita, Kansas, says installing air cleaners is a relatively inexpensive way to reduce building-related illnesses and absenteeism, improve productivity, and demonstrate to your employees that you care about their well-being.

Cohen recommends choosing a high-efficiency unit that can change the air in a given area four to six times per hour, so be sure to know the cubic feet you're dealing with when shopping for an air cleaner. Also consider the sound the machine makes; some models are noisier than others, and workers may find it distracting. Air cleaners can be purchased at most department stores, home and building supply stores, and office supply stores. Cohen says prices per unit typically range from $150 to $250.

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This article was originally published in the January 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Squeaky Clean.

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