Common Workplace Chemical Hazards and How to Prevent Them

warning-icons-variations-set-1164088-639x579The kids are back at school and you’re finally back on a normal work schedule after the stress (and fun!) of the summer. Take a moment every day this week to notice any strange health conditions—a headache that won’t go away, a strange cough that comes out of nowhere, or itchy, red eyes. The chemicals at your workplace could be the culprits.

Toxic chemicals are found all over the American office. They’re in conventional cleaning products, office supplies, the toner in the office printer, and even in the carpet and office furniture. Harmful chemicals can cause skin and eye irritation and burns on the skin. Chemical vapors may cause respiratory irritation, including coughing, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

Preventing Health Effects from Toxins

Don’t be discouraged by the prevalence of toxins in the workplace—instead, take action to prevent your exposure to them. The easiest way to avoid harmful chemicals is avoid bringing them into the office in the first place. This is easy if you are the primary decision-maker at your business. If you’re not, you may need to educate your boss on why getting rid of toxic chemicals is important.

Replace conventional cleaning products with products with plant-based active ingredients such as thymol and citric acid. If you’re unable to find an all-natural alternative to a conventional cleaner, make sure you are reading all the labels on your conventional cleaner and following the instructions to the T.

If you’re replacing old carpet or furniture, work with a designer to find products that are eco-friendly and made with little or no volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Products made with these chemicals give off vapors that can cause respiratory irritation.

Controlling Chemical Hazards in the Office

One of the best ways to ensure a healthier workplace is to take measures to improve air quality. Get your air quality tested so you know what contaminants exist, then take steps to filter the air. Create a system to control access to hazardous chemicals. Educate your employees on healthy habits to improve their overall health and prevent the spread of disease at the workplace.

The easiest way to avoid the harmful effects of toxic chemicals is to reduce or eliminate them from your workplace. For more information on all-natural commercial cleaning products or to order a DIY air quality testing kit, contact me today!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

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