Sensory irritation caused by chemical and biological-based particles in classroom and bathroom

Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, October 2019, Volume 2, #80

Sensory irritation caused by exposure to chemical-based particles is a common occurrence in the classrooms or teaching settings. This is due to the prevalence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) based pen markers in the education system. Xylene is a predominant organic compound found in markers. Xylene is very effective in causing eyes, nose, and throat irritations. Instructors are exposed very often, while students, especially those sitting very close to the teaching board, are also exposed. The friction between a pen and board, and between a duster and board cause particles to be generated. The volatility of an organic compound also contributes to the formation of aerosols (particles in the air). This happens when vapour of an organic compound condenses to a liquid particle.

Mold is formed on a shower curtain when the environmental conditions are suitable for its growth. High relative humidity in the bathroom will facilitate the growth of mold, especially if the shower curtain is covered with dirt or not maintained regularly. The lack of ventilation in a bathroom to reduce the moisture level will further enhance mold growth. Any disturbance to the surface of a mold invested shower curtain will release biological-based particles into the air making the person that draws the curtain to be exposed to the pollutants.

The risk of suffering from health problems will increase if the exposure is a daily occurrence. The sensitivity of the exposed person to the chemical and biological-based particles will determine the risk of experiencing sneezing, flu, cough, and eyes, nose and throat irritations. Markers that are free of harmful chemicals, and the prevention of mold growth in the bathroom, especially on shower curtains should be favoured for a healthy experience.

80. Chem and bio particles_80

Do you want to know more about this topic? Read Castorina et al. (2016) and Kelly et al. (2004) papers.

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