One of the problems with working in an office building -- even worse than the guy in the cubicle next to slurping his coffee -- is the invisible factor known as air quality. Many offices are located in what have been called "sick buildings" -- places where the air quality is so bad that it actually makes the people who work there ill.
According to the EPA, indoor air quality can be affected by a wide list of factors, such as furnishings, housekeeping practices, pesticide applications, microbial contamination, and even the actions of your co-workers. Lighting, noise, vibrations and other factors can make these problems even worse.
People who work in "sick buildings" can come down with a variety of illnesses, or just a long line of symptoms that can't be tied to a specific disease or condition. Symptoms can include headaches, lethargy, allergies, nausea and a whole lot worse.
Luckily, the EPA has some very clear guidelines about what to do if you think you work in a sick building
. The first step is to talk to other employees to see if they are experiencing any of the same symptoms that you are. Next, document your condition with a doctor and/or with your company's health or safety officer. After that, you can call your state or local health department or air pollution control agency. They'll have a set of standardized tests to perform and possible tools to help improve the air quality in your building.
Don't let indoor air or noise pollution ruin your life. Click the link above for more information.