Building materials, paints, cooking, aerosol sprays and personal care products all produce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), a form of air pollution that creates “off-gasses.” These toxins, even with only limited exposure, can pose major health risks and are becoming an area of more intense focus for senior living communities.
While prolonged exposure to VOCs are a health risk to anyone, they are especially dangerous to seniors. Several recent research studies have shown both the prevalence of VOCs in senior living homes and the damaging effects they can have on residents’ health.
Because of this increased risk, and as more research is done on the relationship between environmental factors and wellness, good air quality is becoming a differentiator for senior living communities. Residents feel better when they breathe clean air, so reducing levels of VOCs is an effective way to ensure they’re able to enjoy feeling healthier and happier (clean air also improves mood).
Health Risks Associated with VOCs
There are many types of VOCs and the levels of toxicity vary but they are all bad for us. Exposure to these chemicals, in our living spaces, can do damage.
In the short term, symptoms can include eye, nose and throat irritation; headaches; nausea/vomiting and dizziness. More chronic exposure can lead to different types of cancer, liver and kidney damage and central nervous system damage and accelerate cognitive decline.
Although these chemicals have been present and posed a health risk for many years, they’ve become even more of a concern during the coronavirus pandemic over the past few years. The disinfectants used for surface cleaning also generate VOCs, and increased sanitation policies during the pandemic have elevated their levels in the air and escalated the corresponding health effects.
Seniors, like young children and people with asthma, are particularly susceptible to these risks, and special attention must be paid to ensuring the air they breathe is clean.
How to Reduce VOC Levels
We spend 90% of our time indoors where the air is up to 10x dirtier than the outside air.
This truth has property managers seeking measures to eliminate the many toxins floating through the air.
There are two common ways of trying to manage VOC exposure: prevention and mitigation. Source control measures like using paints with low VOC concentrations, finding alternatives for aerosols or following manufacturing instructions on how to air out products are a good start. But a lot of the materials producing VOCs aren’t always as easy to eliminate, and different toxins can sneak into a living space via aerosol sprays, cleaning products, cooking, flame retardant furniture, fireplaces, carpet and paint.
The most practical way to remove VOCs and other airborne toxins and turn indoor spaces into healthier places is advanced FILTRATION.
The Kelliwell Air Filtration System removes 99.99% of airborne toxins, including VOCs and COVID using advanced multi-filter purification. Every 70 minutes, 100% of the air in a Kelliwell indoor space is scrubbed. And to assure residents with the comfort that the air they breathe is clean, the system provides a real-time report of the five essential elements of indoor air quality so you always know the air is optimal.
How Clean Air Benefits Residents
Reducing indoor contaminants reduces the risk of negative health outcomes and improves conditions for overall health and well-being. Here some more specific examples of how your residents can enjoy the rejuvenating benefits of purified indoor environment scientifically proven to protect health and boost immunity:
- Several studies have shown residents’ blood pressure and heart rate improved after the installation of air purifiers.
- Two researchers who have studied how air pollution is linked to Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline recently found that breathing clean air can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. It also reduces risk of a stroke.
- Breathing clean air while sleeping has been shown to improve subjects’ overall sleep quality, next-day reported sleepiness, ability to concentrate and performance on a test of logical thinking.
- Purified air improves a bevy of other issues including: mood, digestion, stress, anxiety, headaches, allergies, asthma, bronchitis.
Guess Who Else Loves Clean Air?
When we install a Wellness System in a Senior Living Community, we receive rave reviews. And while the seniors and their families and visitors give us terrific feedback, it’s the STAFF who give us the super-fan thumbs-up. They tell us that they feel healthier with purified air and filtered water and they appreciate that their health is valued.
One More Thing
You know those air fresheners that many communities use? Most of them create VOCs and are quite harmful to the respiratory system. When we install the Kelliwell System, we advise that all air fresheners be removed … you won’t need them anymore because the air will always smell good.
We Have CASE STUDIES available that show you exactly what happens when you purify the air — reach out to us anytime and we’ll send them to you.
And to learn more about how air filtration can benefit your senior community, its residents, visitors and staff, visit kelliwell.com/commercial.