In one of our recent articles, we uncovered three seemingly innocuous products commonly found around the home, which actually have a negative impact on the environment and human health. This week, we give the same treatment to office spaces and take a look at three common items workers around the country come in contact with on a daily basis, which are not as harmless as they seem.
Laser printer chemicals
In 2007, a study found that some laser printers release microscopic particles, volatile organic compounds, and ozone particulates, all of which are linked to the development of serious health problems, particularly heart and lung disease. Whilst it’s impossible to entirely avoid using printers in the workplace, it is possible to minimise the impact these devices have on human health by separating them from office working spaces.
Water free hand sanitisers are a common sight in many offices, and are intended to reduce the spread of germs amongst workers who touch and use the same equipment, but there are actually a whole host of health problems associated with these products. Most of the issues surround the ingredient triclosan, which is the active antibacterial agent in hand sanitisers. From a health perspective, studies suggest that triclosan affects the way that hormones work in the body, it can also negatively impact immune function and increase the likelihood of children and teenagers developing allergies. In terms of an impact on the environment, scented hand sanitisers are filled with toxic compounds such as phthalates and parabens, whilst some studies suggest that hand sanitisers are contributing to bacterial resistance.
The fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) light bulbs which are used to light most office spaces contain mercury which can become dangerous if the bulbs are improperly disposed of. Mercury containing light bulbs need to be dropped off at a specialised recycling facility, where key components such as ceramic, glass, aluminium, phosphor and of course mercury can be saved from landfill.
Alpha Environmental are experienced environmental consultants who offer a wide range of assessment and remediation services for commercial property owners. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling (03) 9415 8002.