Clean air from UniqAir will make bring a smile to your face!

A UniqAir unit was installed in Merja's office in November 2016. “My symptoms started to improve immediately, as soon as I got the UniqAir”.

Hangon Keksi, built in 1911 and protected by the Finnish Heritage Agency, is a valuable and elegant three-storey property, designed by Walter and Ivar Thomé. It is Merja Rönkkö's lovely workplace, where she has enjoyed working for the past 38 years. Merja is Foreman of the Parks unit at the Technical and Environmental Office of the City of Hanko. Her team, consisting of 11 permanent garden professionals and 40 annual summer assistants, takes good care of the city's lush green parks, forests and shores. ”Here in Hanko, we have 360 hectares of parks, 1000 hectares of forest and 70 hectares of shoreline. We also have protected areas where important maintenance projects are carried out," Merja says. Merja speaks with professional pride and a love for nature. "The importance of forest ecosystems for the well-being, happiness and even skin condition of humans has been proven by research. Forest air is fresh and good to breathe.”

When Merja comes back indoors from the forest, she feels totally different. Her well-being at work has been severely compromised for the past ten years due to indoor air problems.

”This building, Hangon Keksi, is old and made of sand-lime bricks. The building has suffered from indoor air quality problems and investigations have looked for a solution to the issue. The solutions tried have included new windows and mechanical depressurization. No help for me. My symptoms started to get worse in 2007. I was examined by occupational health care over and over again, I had bronchitis every spring and autumn and then I got a cough that never got better, just worse all the time,” Merja says. On top of it all, a serious workplace accident occurred. ”I inhaled toxic gas. We had removed something from that a person who wanted to poison dogs and birds had left there. The toxic gas in the package blew up in my face indoors. The gas included bromine, which is dangerous for the respiratory tract and gravely irritated my throat at once. That was the last straw.”

Exposure to poor-quality indoor air leads to serious illnesses. In 2012, Merja was diagnosed with asthma. People with asthma are often more apt than others to sense if there are problems in indoor air in a particular building or space. Exposure to indoor air problems results in severe illnesses. “This protected building has been thoroughly investigated, which we must be thankful for! The research has shown that we are faced with water damage and problems caused by mold and fungal spores in this building. The research also showed that our indoor air contains dangerous hydrocarbons. The values were strongly exceeded at all locations where they were measured”, Merja explains soberly.

There was a clear need for improvement in indoor air quality. In November 2016, UniqAir was placed Merja’s office space.

“As soon as I received a UniqAir unit, my symptoms started to ease immediately. When I walked into my office after the first weekend, UniqAir had made the air clean and fresh. At first, I could not believe that such a major change was possible. Now I know that it is,” Merja says with a smile. ”I no longer need my asthma inhaler and have been able to reduce my use of other medications, as well. My lung specialist monitors my results and says that for the first time in a long while, my key values are normal. Before UniqAir, my symptoms included shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations, drastic joint pains, difficulties in concentration and a feeling of numbness, as if my head were half filled with cotton wool.”

The Hangon Keksi building was built in the early 1900s by a railway hub. The factory produced not only the biscuits Hanko is famous for nationwide, but also licorice, margarine and wafers. Merja has doubts about the railway close by. ”There was stone dust in the indoor air here and the distinct smell of creosote, the substance used in treating railroad ties. Water still flows from the railway towards this building. The next investigation will target the source of the creosote.”

Merja intends to request more UniqAir appliances for Hangon Keksi.

”For example, our meeting room is so closed that sometimes we just run out of oxygen. UniqAir would certainly improve the working conditions for all in that room.” Merja knows that UniqAir units are used not only in meeting rooms and office spaces but also in many hospitals, schools, care homes and other premises where the load caused by the number of people is high and therefore the need for clean respiratory air is high as well.

Merja is convinced that UniqAir not only helps in making indoor air clean and fresh to breathe, but is also vital in maintaining her occupational health.

”I will never give up my UniqAir! Without it, I would not be fully able to work. I know that for sure, because before UniqAir, my worst asthma attacks could take me to the respiratory machine at the lung clinic. Now I'm fully capable to work, instead of suffering from shortness of breath or severe pain, and having to take sick leave every now and then. UniqAir is my saviour. It has brought me complete balance. I wanted to tell everyone about my experiences, because I sincerely hope that many others will get the chance to be helped by UniqAir,” Merja says.

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