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Office Air Quality May Affect Employees’ Cognition, Productivity

Real science is never settled, and anyone who has certainty on such things is not qualified to discuss it.

I always disliked the air in office buildings, which I worked in for many years.

If this finding holds, then obviously outdoor air is far more of a problem at times.

See also: Clean air matters for a healthy brain and Nature-based activities can improve mood and reduce anxiety

Office Air Quality May Affect Employees’ Cognition, Productivity

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2021-09-09

The air quality within an office can have significant impacts on employees' cognitive function, including response times and ability to focus, and it may also affect their productivity, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The one-year study, which included participants in offices across six countries working in a variety of fields, including engineering, real estate investment, architecture, and technology, found that increased concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and lower ventilation rates (measured using carbon dioxide (CO2) levels as a proxy) were associated with slower response times and reduced accuracy on a series of cognitive tests. The researchers noted that they observed impaired cognitive function at concentrations of PM2.5 and CO2 that are common within indoor environments.


WIND: if air quality is poor and there are “lower ventilation rates”, I’d bet this is a factor in the spread of COVID-19, at the least in degrading health, if not in allowing the virus to travel on fine particulate matter. So I’d bet that PM2.5 bad air + COVID is a really bad idea.

N95 masks filter out PM2.5 by 95% when properly fitted (shave off that beard!). N100/P100 particulate respirators are 20X better (99.75% filtration vs 95%). I strongly recommend valved masks, because the non-valved ones are too hard to breath through when exercising (and for some, even not exercising).

Now if an office worker sitting around a chair with low respiratory and cardiac rate is affected, what happens when excercising with vastly higher respiratory rate and volume and far higher cardiac output? I guess I was on to something when I first started excercising with a mask in bad conditions.

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