We spend 80% of our time indoors, in schools, offices, hospitals and our homes. We take it for granted that the air we breathe is clean and pollutant-free, as fresh as the air in our glorious rolling countryside. Yet impurities found in both our working and living spaces can cause health problems and a reduction in our general wellbeing. Pollutants called VOCs – volatile organic compounds – are naturally emitted into our homes, offices and schools by people, pets, cleaning products as well as furniture, carpets, paints and varnishes.
Some of the health problems VOCs can cause
People often complain about health problems after extended periods of time spent indoors. Many of these symptoms can be attributed to VOCs:
- Headaches - Nausea - Allergies and increased allergic reactions
- Lack of concentration - Eye irritation - Fatigue - Breathing problems
Certain VOCs, including formaldehyde are carcinogenic to humans according to the World Health Organisation (WHO)*.
You can’t see VOCs, or smell them. Therefore there is no way of knowing what concentrations you are being exposed to on a daily basis.
Dr Crump, Director of the Institute of Environment and Health at Cranfield University, talks in this short video about the importance of indoor air quality.
There is a lot of research available on the effects of volatile organic compounds and indoor air quality. Read our desk research.
*WHO Guidelines for indoor air quality (2010)
Converts harmful VOCs into harmless compounds
ACTIVair is a new technology added to Gyproc DuraLine, Gyproc SoundBloc and Rigidur H plasterboards, Gyptone ceiling products and Thistle PureFinish plaster. It is designed specifically to decompose VOC emissions into non-harmful inert compounds, thus eliminating the risk of re-emission.
The effectiveness of the ACTIVair technology has been tested by the accredited Eurofins laboratory. The test shows that ACTIVair decomposes up to 70% of the formaldehyde in a controlled test environment.
Improving the indoor environment
Improving the indoor environment is a major consideration amongst clients and building occupants, most notably those concerned with sustainability and health and wellbeing. Good clean air can reduce health problems as well as enhancing healthy living in both our work and living spaces.
A case study from classrooms in Kallo in Belgium can be seen below. It demonstrated a decrease in formaldehyde concentration of 60% over 2 months.
Furthermore, ACTIVair technology:
- Contributes towards 2 BREEAM points under indoor air quality, as part of a management plan and handover test plan
- Works through a paint finish
- Is recyclable through the British Gypsum closed loop Plasterboard Recycling Service (PRS)
- Has no impact on the performance of the ceiling system regarding fire, acoustics and durability.
Gyproc DuraLine with ACTIVair technology
Gyproc SoundBloc with ACTIVair technology
Rigidur H with ACTIVair technology
View the British Gypsum acoustic ceilings product range
Mary's Hospital, Kettering