A CASE STUDY ON AIRBORNE PARTICULATE MATTERS – HOW DUSTY IS KL SENTRAL?
It seems that some health risks related to the surrounding indoor pollution are unavoidable these days as an average working person spends over 90% of his or her lifetime indoors. Even though most people are aware about the damaging effects of outdoor air pollution towards the environment and health, they may not know that indoor air pollution can also cause significant effects. According to another researcher, the awareness of Malaysians on indoor air pollution has increased due to its direct and indirect health effects towards building occupants such as eye irritation, throat irritation, biting sensation in the nose and eye, teary eyes, inflammation of lung, edema and respiratory distress which might cause death in serious cases. Since the Malaysia Act 514, Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, Part IV – General Duties of Employers and Self-employed Persons only requires employers to maintain good air quality without specifying the standards to be achieved and the Code of Practice on Indoor Air Quality published by the Department of Safety and Health (DOSH) under the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources does not enforce the industry to comply, they only serve as guidance for the industry to voluntarily improve their offices’ indoor air quality.
This study was conducted in 3 different areas of buildings at KL Sentral, namely outdoor, intermediate area (lobby) and indoor by testing the concentrations of dust particles with sizes 10 microns and 2.5 microns. Dust with the size of 10 microns and above is also known as inhalable dust which will deposit in our respiratory tract while dust with the size of 2.5 microns is also known as respirable dust which can reach the gas exchange area of our lungs, making it more hazardous.
Based on the 3 guidelines on air quality, namely: Guidance Notes for the Management of Indoor Air Quality in Offices and Public Places, Hong Kong (limit as 0.18 mg/m3), Industry Code of Practice on Indoor air Quality by the DOSH (limit as 0.15 mg/m3) and Malaysia Ambient Air Quality Standard by the Department of Environment (DOE) (limit as 0,15/m3), the level of both respirable and inhalable dust at KL Sentral is considered as very high. Building services divisions for each building at KL Sentral needs to overcome this problem and take action to raise awareness among staff about the safety and health in office buildings especially on airborne particulate matter, which is also known as dust
Source: S. A. Mohddin & N, M. Aminuddin. (2014). The exposure assessment of airborne particulates matter (PM10 & PM2.5) towards building occupants: A case study at KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 18: 1 – 6