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How's the Indoor Air Quality at Your Office?

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How's the Indoor Air Quality at Your Office?

A new study shows that workers are exposed to polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs) from office carpets and furniture.

A new study has investigated the indoor air quality of offices buildings, testing workers’ blood for potentially harmful chemicals called polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs). PFCs are added to carpets and furniture for water-repelling qualities.

Sure enough, office workers’ blood contained levels of PFCs. Previously, it was known that PFCs can be found in the body after direct contact, but it was not known that they could be found in the body due to air quality.

The high levels found in the body after exposure to offices rather than homes suggest that PFCs are used more often in office furniture and carpeting compared to those in the home. This may be to make the cleaning process easier. Newly constructed and newly renovated buildings also had higher levels of PFCs, perhaps because some older carpeting and furniture may have been produced before the widespread use of these chemicals.

What do PFCs do?
Although studies have suggested that certain types of PFCs may affect the endocrine system, research about the health effects of PFCs on humans has been dubbed inconclusive. However, it is known that these chemicals are bioaccumulative and persistant, meaning that they last in the environment and can build up in our bodies, as well as in wildlife. They can even spread to very remote areas of the world where they are not used.

When buying new furniture, clothing, carpeting, and even cookware, ensure that PFCs have not been added.

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