Effects of pollution from personal computers on perceived air quality, SBS symptoms and productivity in offices

Posted by Niko Järvinen on Jun 30, 2016

Authors: Bakó‐Biró, Z., Wargocki, P., Weschler, C.J. and Fanger, P.O.

Year of publication: 2004

Publication: Indoor air, 14(3), pp.178-187.

Keywords: chemicals, sick-building syndrome (SBS), productivity, computer, sensory pollution, indoor air quality,

Link to publication

An international research team (2004), evaluated the impact of air pollutants produced by personal computers (PCs) on perceived air quality, SBS symptoms and office work performance. In groups of six, 30 participants were exposed to each of two conditions – the presence or absence of PCs. These PCs were placed behind a screen so as not to be visible to the participants, who were assessed conducting simulated office work and asked to evaluate perceived air quality and report Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) symptoms. Humidity, temperature and the ‘air quality’ were monitored throughout the experiment.

The findings of this research suggest that in the presence of PCs:

  • Participant dissatisfied with the perceived air quality increased from 13 to 41 %
  • Participant time required for text processing increased by 9%

Chemical analyses were performed to determine the pollutants emitted by the PCs:

  • These included phenol, toluene, 2-ethylhexanol, formaldehyde, and styrene at significant levels

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