Have You ever thought about the impact dust and particles have on your body or brain? Is there anything you could do to improve your own brain power?
Every 10 micrograms per cubic meter of Particulate Matter in the air decreases brain capacity by 1%, and an average of 200 micrograms per cubic meter can be measured in many major capital cities worldwide. This equals 20% less brain capacity!
Scary, right? Not only can we feel it in our nose or as itches, but the smallest and most harmful particles are so tiny that we are likely not to feel them. But the non-visible effect they have is striking, as proven by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Their one-year study monitored air quality in offices across six countries and examined how employees performed on cognitive tests under different air quality conditions.
They concluded that the air quality within an office can significantly affect employees’ response time and their ability to focus, affecting productivity. The employees who took part in the study worked in fields such as Engineering, Real Estate Investment, Architecture and Technology.
The findings showed that increased concentrations of fine particulate matter and lower ventilation rates within an office were associated with slower response times and reduced accuracy on the cognitive tests carried out by study participants.
“Overall, the study suggests that poor indoor quality affects health and productivity significantly more than we previously understood” says the lead author Jose Guillermo Cedeno Laurent.
Obviously, we cannot entirely prevent the outdoor air from coming inside – but we seldom recognise that we are more exposed to harmful air indoors. There are also many other factors inside our buildings that create particles and impurities, so even shutting down all ventilation and closing windows does not solve the problem.
Evidence is clear; we need to purify the air we breathe to keep our brains and bodies healthy! Fundamentally everyone deserves and has the right to healthy indoor air quality – it’s time for you to act now for your own and your colleagues' future health!
Ref: Associations between acute exposures to PM2.5 and carbon dioxide indoors and cognitive function in office workers: a multi-county longitudinal prospective observational study, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States of America, 2021