In Workplaces

Many of the steps we can take to reduce our personal exposure to chemicals at home can be replicated at work as well.

  • Encourage those responsible for your employer’s recycling program to expand their purview. Urge them to take steps to encourage a reduction in chemical exposures in the workplace.
     
  • Encourage the purchase of electronic equipment that is free of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, which are endocrine disruptors. See Kicking Toxic Chemicals Out of the Office from the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). To learn about recycling electronics equipment responsibly, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Electronics Take Back Coalition websites.
  • Ask those responsible for buying kitchen supplies to avoid polystyrene products. Styrene, a suspected carcinogen, is primarily used in the production of polystyrene, or Styrofoam, products. Even better, encourage coworkers to use reusable ceramic cups to protect not just the environment but their health as well.
     
  • Post information near the microwave oven in the kitchen about the health ramifications of heating food and drink in plastic containers. Encourage your coworkers to use heat-resistant glass or ceramic containers instead.
     
  • If your workplace has a cafeteria, ensure that its managers understand health-friendly food preparation, serving, and storage techniques. Educate them about using glass or lead-free ceramic containers in the microwave rather than plastic containers, storing acidic food and drink in glass or lead-free ceramic containers rather than plastic ones, avoiding products made from polystyrene products, and using pots and pans that are steel clad, enameled, cast iron, or anodized aluminum rather than those with nonstick or stain-resistant coatings.
     
  • Ensure that your workplace is cleaned with nontoxic products. Contract with your custodial services to use green cleaning products.
     
  • Ensure that building materials, furniture, paints, stains, and sealants used in your workplace are free of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are major sources of indoor air pollution.
     
  • Monitor the air quality in your workplace. For more details, consult with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s extensive report, The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality.
     
  • Ensure proper ventilation of your office space. Computers, monitors, printers, and copiers are all significant sources of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, which are flame retardants used in a multitude of commercial products. The chemicals are also endocrine disruptors that affect thyroid hormones.
  • Check out our Detox Me app for more tips on taking action in workplaces.