Science and your health

Working in an office may be injurious to your health

Image via http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1280072

Indoor air in offices is an important source of exposure to potentially toxic substances released by carpeting, furniture, paint and other items. In a new paper published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, a link has been established for the first  time between levels of polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in office air and in the blood of workers. PFCs, used in water-repellent coatings on carpet and furniture, may have adverse effects on human health.

Concentrations of a PFC called fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH) in office air were found to be  3-5 times higher than those reported in previous studies of household air, “suggesting that offices may represent a unique and important exposure environment.” The study also found a strong link between concentrations of FTOH in office air and perfluorooctanoic acid (a metabolite of FTOH) in the blood of office workers. In another twist, workers in newly renovated office buildings may receive considerably higher doses of PFCs than workers in older buildings, suggest the authors.

Read the paper at: “Polyfluorinated Compounds in Serum Linked to Indoor Air in Office Environments

Nirmal Shah

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