The dangers of chemicals when airflow is cut off

You know, household items can easily cause damage if you aren’t expecting it. Knowing that vinegar, bleach and ammonia can create a dangerous toxic gas can save your life, especially when you’re new to using these common cleaning products! Just as well, it’s important to have excellent air circulation – and an open window or two – when you are painting indoors. As a custodian and facilities handyman, I’ve seen countless instances of careless behavior nearly costing someone their life. More often than not, using cleaning or painting products can become far less dangerous to the human body if there is excellent airflow in and out of the room. For example – my wife is an arts professor at the local community college. Her classroom and studio has multiple supply and return ventilation points for the air conditioning ductwork that runs through the school. I would say that her room has at least triple the amount of vents, simply because she spends much of her day surrounded by painting products that can emit fumes when used. Her classroom also has excellent air conditioning and heating system connections, as the work submitted by students is often sensitive to temperature fluctuations. That’s why her room is often kept at a cool and comfortable seventy degrees all year long! With that in mind, I stress to any would-be janitor or artist that you remember to leave the HVAC system running while you work. Otherwise, you might find yourself with a pounding headache or worse!

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