The Health Friendly Air Programme will be officially launched by Environment Minister John Gormley this week and aims to ensure people have a healthy environment in which to work.

Research has shown that enhancing air quality can increase the performance of office workers by 10% and indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outside air.

Specialist air monitoring and occupational health consultants will visit buildings and take samples using equipment such as electronic monitors, air flow visualisation techniques and air flow pumps.

Dr Bruce Mitchell, executive chairman of Allergy Standards Consulting, told the newspaper that poor ventilation can result in increased levels of carbon dioxide which can lead to complaints about headaches and other ailments.

“When you think about it, we are very concerned about the quality of the food we eat and the water we drink, so why not the air we breathe?” added Dr Mitchell.

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than one in four office buildings have air quality problems which can lead to sickness and absenteeism, with over 14 million workdays lost in Ireland every year due to non-appearance.

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