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My comment/answer to the request about health impact of Low Oxygen in the office.

I consider that so called «expert’s» opinion by Neal Okerson was so poor.

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Respiratory-Therapist-3303/Low-oxygen-office.htm


Thanks for the opinion, Neal. I guess you would be good agent in air filters promotion.

Hi Linda,

1. You are not alone. I completely understand your situation and should assure you that you are normal and many other people feel the same.

2. What is the problem? I personally feel pretty much the same way in all the offices I was ever working and in all our rental apartments (4-5 of them across USA and Canada).
Most of them 1) made with poor insulation of walls and ceiling, 2) made out of unhealthy materials, 3) with low open air volume — low ceiling, 4) complete lack of or just poor natural passive air ventilation and 5) with very stupid conditioning/heating systems. Usually to save on energy consumption they are tuned to minimize outer air income into the isolated cycle (heating or cooling the air from outside both require extra energy). The last point is the final cause that the air becomes unhealthy for breathing. We are all biological creatures — we take in oxygen(O2) and breath out carbon dioxide (CO2). And this is absolutely useless to apply any filtering in that case (may be they can help against mold, not more) as the root cause in the chemical composition (CO2 vs O2) of the air inside and air humidity (water vapour).

3. What to do? To save myself in my apartments I open the windows as much as I can (especially important to do it at night when you sleep) and when in the office I get out regularly during a day (at least 2-3 times for at least 5-10 minutes) to have a gulp of fresh and natural air.
While outdoor, do brisky walking and other aerobic activities to saturate yourself before you go back to «your yellow submarine». Do if you know how some basic yogatherapheutic breathing exersizes in the morning (better on a fresh and clean air). Follow good and healthy diet rules(major food of a day at noon, non-preservatives, non-colours, non-flavours, non-trashy freashly cooked meal made out of local/organic/natural food ingredients) and sleeping regime (sleep between 10 pm to 3 am at least).

Please also check the article quoted below and see that you are not alone and many people are concerned by indoor air healthiness. And be positive and healthy. Take care of yourself!

«A study last year by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found CO2 levels are worst in meeting rooms, and also in classrooms.

Normally, outdoors the CO2 levels are around 350 ppm — in office meeting rooms levels can rise to thousands of parts per million, usually due to poor ventilation.

While insulation, air-tight windows and heat-saving construction have all gotten better as a result of green building practices, indoor air has suffered.» < Quoted from http://www.treehugger.com/interior-design/who-knew-excess-co2-bad-our-brains.html>

 


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The question by Linda Harriman was:

Respiratory Therapist/Low oxygen office

Question
Hello, at every engineering office I have worked in, I have noticed that everyone drinks caffeine constantly, but still become noticeable sleepy.
I cannot tolerate much caffeine and become sleepy and have vision problems, too.
Whenever I am able to open a window, or am able to spend time outside, the sleepy/vision problem disappears. There is always someone who objects to an open window in the office, so that is not an option. In MHO, every enclosed office I have worked in is a low-oxygen/high mold environment and is not healthy.
But I need to work. Could I supplement my oxygen every hour for a few minutes and help myself in this environment? Any ideas you have would be appreciated.
Linda Harriman

The answer by Neal Okerson:

Answer
How has the oxygen level been measured and what is the %? For a building to have a low oxygen level three things would have to happen: 1. The building would need to be sealed air tight. 2. The building would not have any air exchange from the HVAC system. 3. A lot of people in a tight space. In fact a build up of carbon dioxide would cause serious problems before a drop the oxygen level would occur. All of this seems very unlikely.

Unless a person is sick with certain types of respiratory illnesses, extra oxygen is not needed. In fact extra oxygen produces more free radicals — which speeds up the aging process.

Most likely a good room air filter (the HEPA type) would be the most benefitial and would not get your coworkers in a fit. It would remove the mold and freshen the air to make it healthier and more comfortable for you. I would stick with a more basic model. The extra bells and whistles don’t seem to help the air quality. Just look for the most cubic feet of filtered air for the money.

Neal


 

Neal Okerson

Expertise

I should be able to answer most questions about anatomy and physiology of heart and lungs. I also enjoy answering questions about understanding diseases. I should also be able to explain the goals and objectives of various pulmonary related treatments. Not an M.D., but worked in the field (Certified Respiratory Therapy Technician) since 1990. Registered Respiratory Therapist since 1995. B.S. degree in Health Education (1987). Currently working (since 1993) as the Director of Clinical Education in an AMA approved Respiratory Care Program in Western KY.

 


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