Ahhh, fresh air!
On average we probably breathe in and breathe out 20,000 times per day. Did you know that most of those breaths are taken indoors where we spend 90% of our time? So the quality of the indoor air we breathe really matters! Indoor air quality has a major impact on our health, both short and long term. The good news is there is something we can do about it.
The Invisible Threat
Airborne threats such as VOCs, mold, bacteria and allergens are known pathogens that affect the quality of the air we breathe indoors. But 2019 introduced a new invisible airborne threat—SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19.
On Indoor Air and Coronavirus, the EPA states, “people who are infected with COVID can release particles and droplets of respiratory fluids that contain the SARS CoV-2 virus into the air when they exhale (e.g., quiet breathing, speaking, singing, exercise, coughing, sneezing).” The EPA also states that “transmission of COVID-19 from inhalation of virus in the air can occur at distances greater than six feet. Particles from an infected person can move throughout an entire room or indoor space. The particles can also linger in the air after a person has left the room—they can remain airborne for hours in some cases.”
Therefore, it’s imperative that we give attention to cleaning indoor air.
Let’s Clear the Air
In March the EPA launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge. Along with that, Dr. Alondra Nelson, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hosted a panel discussion on Covid and Clean Indoor Air. Dr. Nelson stated that “clean indoor air is a vital part of our pandemic preparedness toolkit and our public health toolkit.” The panel included discussions by scientific experts and clean indoor air champions.
“clean indoor air is a vital part of our pandemic preparedness toolkit and our public health toolkit.” —Dr. Nelson, OSTP
Dr. Linsey Marr, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech, shared her scientific knowledge on airborne transmission of viruses. She pointed out we can protect ourselves by improving ventilation and filtration to reduce the amount of viral aerosols in a room.
Dr. Joseph Allen, Director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard, stated this simple truth that “our buildings can make us sick or keep us well” and that buildings matter when we acknowledge airborne transmission. He also discussed how the virus spreads and mitigation strategies such as ventilation and filtration.
“our buildings can make us sick or keep us well”—Dr. Allen, Harvard
Dr. Allen said the benefits of cleaning air in schools is associated with better reading and math scores and a decrease in absenteeism. Essentially, school buildings influence student health, student thinking and performance. The benefits of higher ventilation rates also extends to offices and workers and is associated with fewer missed work days, higher cognitive function and less fatigue and headaches.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from the Airborne Threat?
So why do we need clean indoor air? Because You Are What You Breathe, cleaning indoor air is a powerful tool against COVID-19 infection, influenza, and pollutants. Additionally, office workers, employers and our school children realize immeasurable benefits from clean indoor air with increased productivity and improved cognitive function. We can take action now to improve the quality of the air we breathe through enhanced ventilation and filtration.
White Coat is an Indoor Air Quality Service provider and can help solve your indoor air quality needs. We offer Air Disinfectors with 6 stages of filtration and UVGI-PCO, both of which are chemical free and highly effective at removing airborne particles.
As a Cornerstone member of the International Well Building Institute, we are actively supporting the movement towards advancing human health in buildings and communities around the world. For more information on how to solve for healthier buildings and clean indoor air, please give us a call at 321.795.9800.