The importance of indoor air quality during the coronavirus pandemic by Camfil USA

New Jersey, April 13, 2020  For the most part, everyone is stuck indoors as we all practice social distancing to keep ourselves safe and combat the spread of COVID-19.

You might be tempted to think that staying indoors means you’re safe from air pollution, but research shows that this is far from the case. Air pollution can occur indoors, too, and has been linked to occurrences of headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, according to the EPA. The World Health Organization calls this “sick building syndrome.”

In the U.S., we already collectively spend around 90% of our time indoors. With these numbers increasing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, managing indoor air pollution is even more important.

Where does indoor pollution come from?

  • Outside sources, such as wildfires inversions, or major roads and freeways.
  • Indoor sources that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including wood glue, which often contains formaldehyde.
  • Poorly designed and energy inefficient buildings that trap pollutants inside.

What are the effects of poor indoor air quality (IAQ)?

Poor indoor air quality can lead to a variety of negative health consequences, but research has shown a link between poor IAQ and cognitive function. Lower air quality increases the risk of:

  • Reduced productivity and more sick days in the workplace.
  • Lower test scores and attendance rates in schools.
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • Decline in alertness.
  • Decreased critical thinking abilities.
  • Overall lower well-being.

How to Combat Indoor Air Pollution During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As we stay indoors and take precautions to avoid coming into contact with COVID-19, keeping our minds and bodies safe is important. Good lung health is essential for our bodies to be able to fight the virus if we do contract it.

If you are concerned about the air quality in your workplace, consider installing both a high efficiency particulate air filter and a molecular filter in your system. Look for experienced air filter manufacturers specializing in high efficiency air filtration systems applications to get the best results.

“Studies show that good indoor air quality has a positive effect on people’s productivity,” explains Mark Davidson, Manager of Marketing & Technical Materials at Camfil USA. Camfil’s commercial air filtration systems are used in a wide variety of industries worldwide. “They’re more alert. They show better cognitive performance thanks to improved oxygen flow. And they can even gain better general health.”

Media Contact:

Lynne Laake

Camfil USA Air Filters

T: 888.599.6620

References:

https://cleanair.camfil.us/2020/04/03/supporting-productivity-with-commercial-air-filtration-systems/

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-08/documents/sick_building_factsheet.pdf

 

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Why the Fight Against Air Pollution Must Go Beyond the Air Filtration Industry

How Lack of Information Contributes to Global Air Pollution – a piece on how basic information about the pollution health risks is not reaching people throughout the world.

While the air filtration industry has gone to great lengths to improve indoor air quality, creating advanced air filters that keep airborne pollutants out of homes, schools, offices, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities, these efforts don’t address a more fundamental fact of air pollution.

Each day, people make choices that affect the quality of the air they breathe. What seems to be mundane activities, whether it’s driving a car, burning wood in the fireplace, mowing the lawn every week, or using aerosol sprays, all contribute to the problem of air pollution.

“In recent years, air pollution has also become a public health issue. It has been singled out as a factor causing premature death and increasing the risk of respiratory or cardiovascular disease,” notes Kevin Wood, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Camfil USA. “Far from being anecdotal, air pollution causes 310,000 premature deaths in Europe alone and is a growing threat in countries with fast-developing economies.”

How the Issue is Affecting Indoor Air Quality

Worsening outdoor air conditions are just one of the many reasons that builders have changed their construction techniques over the last few decades. Today, many buildings are retrofitted with thicker insulation, vapor barriers, and new doors and windows that help keep the indoor air inside while preventing outside air from seeping inside. This approach, however, creates another indoor air quality issue.

What happens in many buildings is the sealed environment causes a buildup of indoor air contaminants and moisture, which in turn, makes the air unhealthy. The EPA notes that these conditions may cause Sick Building Syndrome—a common label to describe headaches, nasal irritations, fatigue, and respiratory illness linked to spending time inside a building. 

How Are Air Filter Manufacturers Addressing the Problem?

 Air filter manufacturers are upping the ante against pollution by emphasizing two styles of filters that target both particulate contamination and unwanted VOCs. 

Going Beyond l Air Filters 

Air filters, however, only treat the symptoms of an even bigger problem. In other words, there needs to be a concerted effort to address the actual source of air pollution.

While organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank have launched campaigns to encourage action against air pollution, solving this challenge requires more than just top-down solutions, green technologies, and systems that shut out air pollutants from indoor spaces.1

Time and again, countries and cities that provide their constituents with access to information about air pollution show the greatest strides in fighting it.

For example, while the Montreal Protocol was instrumental in sounding the alarm on the ozone layer crisis, the United States government’s decision to ban chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were common in refrigerators, aerosol cans, and hairspray, and launch a public awareness campaign on their dangers, was ultimately what stopped the crisis from worsening. Today, studies show that the decision to fix the ozone hole is finally paying off. 

These findings are consistent with clean air strategies used in other countries. Ireland, for example, introduced a smoky coal ban in the 1990s and paired it with a public awareness campaign that led to significant improvements in air quality in urban areas. 

Does This Mean High-Efficiency Air Filters  Are Not Needed?

Even if, by some miracle, the air pollution crisis was fixed tomorrow,  particulate and molecular filters would still play a critical role in buildings where occupants are exposed to airborne contaminants like pollen, dust, equipment off-gassing, and chemical fumes. These contaminants can be found in:

  • Pharmaceutical facilities
  • Manufacturing sites
  • Hospitals and other healthcare facilities
  • Airports
  • Schools 

Final Notes on Choosing  Air Filters 

When choosing an air filter, remember that not all air filters are the same. Focus on air filters that deliver the capture efficiency needed for the local environment and one that maintains the required level of airflow.    To find the filter that accomplishes both efficiency and airflow expectations, select an air filter manufacturer that has the experience and a proven commitment to improving indoor air quality across a wide range of industries. 

To learn more about the importance of indoor air quality control, talk to Camfil USA. If you’re interested in learning more about our air filtration systems, please visit Camfil Air Filter Locations here

Lynne Laake 

Camfil USA Air Filters 

T: 888.599.6620, 

E:Lynne.Laake@camfil.com

F: Friend  Camfil USA on Facebook

T: Follow Camfil USA on Twitter 

Y: Watch Camfil Videos on YouTube

L: Follow our LinkedIn Page

 

Sources:

  1. http://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/five-reasons-act-now-endpollution

 

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Supporting Productivity with Commercial Air Filtration Systems

Learn why poor indoor air quality is a problem for productivity and find out how commercial air filtration systems can help fix it. 

Air pollution as a concept is often associated with the air outdoors. For example, when there’s a wildfire, people are advised to stay indoors to avoid smoke inhalation. The same thing happens during atmospheric inversions when cold air laden with pollution is trapped close to the ground by a layer of warm air above. Even buildings near major roads and freeways are advised to keep road-facing windows closed to prevent pollution from coming inside. Not surprisingly, concerns about polluted outdoor air have led to increased interest in high efficiency air filter product. 

 

But there’s another factor to consider. Pollution can also come from indoor sources. In offices, for example, furnishings like tables and cabinets can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, causing indoor air quality problems. This is often due to how inexpensive wood furniture is made using glue that contains formaldehyde. Controlling VOCs requires another type of filter known as a molecular filter. 

The Relationship Between Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality

Another reason poor indoor air quality has become such a big problem is due to how some buildings were designed in the recent past The oil crisis of the 1970s resulted in a trend of buildings being more airtight to improve their energy efficiency due to the large demand HVAC fans place on energy usage.  The idea was that sealing up a building with better insulation and plugging leaks on doors and windows would prevent warm air from going outside and cold air from entering the building or vice versa. 

This led to a problem called sick building syndrome, which the World Health Organization has since linked to poor indoor air quality.

 

More than forty years later, awareness has become far more widespread. But indoor air quality is something that still has to be managed by building managers, school administrators, and business owners. Buildings are dynamic environments, after all. The combination of multiple people exhaling CO2, off-gassing of furnishings, equipment, and even things like peoples’ clothes all have an impact on air quality. 

 

The good news is that buildings have since moved on to having mechanical ventilation systems that force stale air out and push new air in. High efficiency particulate air filters ensure that throughout this process, airborne pollutants don’t circulate indoors. 

 

High Efficiency Air Filters Should Play a More Important Role 

Situations that allow fumes from undesirable substances to accumulate in indoor air are not unusual. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person spends about 90 percent of their time indoors, making it easy for them to inhale air pollution off-gassed by furnishings and from particulates from cooking, heating, and lighting. While high efficiency air filters have become more common, many buildings across the country continue to rely on low efficiency, low priced, air filters. Many commercial and retail facility managers do not even know what filters are protecting the air their occupants are breathing. 

Apart from the widely recognized negative health effects of air pollution, studies have shown that poor indoor air quality in homes, schools, and offices can also affect productivity. In one study, low indoor air quality was linked to reduced worker productivity as well as lower scores and higher rates of absenteeism in schools. 

 

Indoor Air Quality and Its Impact on the Brain and Body

 

One study on indoor air quality specifically looked at the effects of air quality on cognitive performance in the workplace. The researchers placed different groups of people into rooms that mimic regular office conditions, with some rooms having low concentrations of VOCs (similar to an office with low-emission furniture) and others having higher ventilation levels. 

The study found that scores reflecting decision-making and critical thinking were higher in the well-ventilated rooms than those with VOCs. The researchers also found that the combination of high ventilation and low VOC levels was the most effective. In any case, it’s clear that having a mechanical ventilation system backed by industrial air filtration has obvious benefits for any workplace.

Studies show that good indoor air quality has a positive effect on people’s productivity,” explains Mark Davidson, Manager of Marketing & Technical Materials at Camfil USA. “They’re more alert. They show better cognitive performance thanks to improved oxygen flow. And they can even gain better general health. This translates into fewer sick days and improved well-being.”

For Office Air Filter Systems, Look for Experienced Air Filter Manufacturers

If you are concerned about the air quality in your workplace, consider installing both a high efficiency particulate air filter and a molecular filter in your system. Look for experienced air filter manufacturers specializing in commercial applications to get the best results. 

For more than 50 years, Camfil USA has built commercial air filtration systems for a wide variety of industries. Talk to our team to learn more about our air filter solutions today. 

https://cleanair.camfil.us/locations/

 

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Virus Filtration Experts Share a Technical View of COVID-19

Please help Camfil create awareness by sharing the story with #CamfilUSACovid-19

Riverdale, NJ — In the wake of a worldwide outbreak of a novel coronavirus, filtering through the mass amounts of information being distributed can seem overwhelming. As of March 16, 2020, there are over 175,000 confirmed cases and nearly 7000 deaths worldwide, including at least 4000 cases and 70 deaths in the United States. (See live updates here.) Air filtration experts from Camfil USA have provided some scientific insight into the disease at the particle level in a recent video on coronavirus (COVID-19). 

As the Vice President of Research and Development for Camfil USA, Steve Devine has the credentials and experience to provide some useful insight. Camfil’s filtration devices are used in pharmaceutical cleanrooms, biosafety laboratories, and hospitals. Some of Devine’s notable research, conducted by Camfil alongside the University of Minnesota, looks at preventing the spread of viral swine disease.

COVID-2019 is one of many coronaviruses. The body’s attempts to fight the virus cause fever, coughing and sneezing, and in the most extreme cases, acute respiratory failure as the immune system mistakenly destroys infected lung tissue.

“The reason why this coronavirus is such a threat is due to the fact that nobody on earth has immunity to it yet, other than the 150,000 that have been infected during this outbreak.” 

Like many pathogenic diseases, COVID-19  can be spread through droplets of fluid expelled by the coughs and sneezes of infected individuals. While the actual virus is roughly 0.16 microns in diameter the respiratory droplets from infected individuals come in a wide range of sizes; from visible droplets to the ones too small for our eyes to see. These invisible droplets range in size from 0.5 to 16 microns in size. Studies of other common viruses suggest droplets of 1.0 micron in size are capable of carrying enough virus to cause infections.

Depending on their size, droplets can remain airborne from seven minutes to almost two hours, at which point they can be inhaled, or settle on the face and hands and enter the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. Fortunately, the smallest droplet of concern can be removed from the air with a high-efficiency air filter.

“The role air filtration plays is to reduce the risk of infection when an infected person was previously in that space,” says Devine. High-efficiency filters with a rating of MERV-15A or above are best for areas of standard risk such as a commercial office building, commercial office and retail buildings, schools, airports, manufacturing facilities, and areas not occupied by individuals confirmed with COVID-19.  For higher risk areas such as those housing individuals qualifying under the CDC’s higher risk category, HEPA filtration is recommended. . Filters are only useful if infected patients remain isolated, as direct contact poses the highest risk of infection. Camfil has provided an educational resource on reducing the risk of viral infection and combating airborne pathogens to the public.

This resource covers: Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a virus?
  • How does virus spread?
  • What kind of air filtration you need?
  • How can I reduce the risk of infection?

Devine recommends three other simple protections to protect yourself and others from infection. 

Steve Devine’s Three Rules for Coronavirus can be summed up as: 

  1. Distance yourself by six feet (at the very least) from individuals with confirmed or suspected infections.
  2. Avoid touching your face. 
  3. Wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible, because the oily envelope that coats the virus is stripped by soap molecules. “You should wash your hands with a good old fashioned bar of soap.”

Please help Camfil create awareness by sharing the story with #CamfilUSACovid-19

###

Media Contact: 

Lynne Laake 

Camfil USA Air Filters 

T: 888.599.6620 

E: Lynne.Laake@camfil.com

F: Friend  Camfil USA on Facebook

T: Follow Camfil USA on Twitter 

Y: Watch Camfil Videos on YouTube

L: Follow our LinkedIn Page

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How Maryland is solving its air pollution crisis

Learn why pollution is affecting outdoor & indoor air quality in Maryland to a point that the government is looking to solutions other than air filters.

Last winter, Maryland residents found themselves exposed to high levels of air pollution. Local agencies issued alerts with recommendations for residents to stay indoors under the protection of air filters. 

The polar vortex had caused temperatures in the state and the rest of the northeast to plunge to record low temperatures. For a short while, cities like Chicago were even colder than Antarctica. But with the cold also came another problem: air pollution.

A Code Orange air quality alert was issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) after air pollution in the region reached dangerous levels. On the air quality scale, Code Orange means that air quality is dangerous for children, the elderly, as well as individuals with existing health conditions—they are advised to limit the time spent outdoors.

The air quality scale is as follows:

  • Green – Good
  • Yellow – Moderate
  • Orange – Unhealthy for sensitive individuals
  • Red – Unhealthy for everyone
  • Purple – Very unhealthy
  • Dark purple – Hazardous/toxic

But why exactly did Maryland experience such a sudden decline in its air quality last winter?

Inversion to Blame for the Decline of Indoor Air Quality 

Maryland’s sudden decline in outdoor and indoor air quality after the polar vortex had been caused by a weather condition known as an inversion. 

Normally, temperatures become colder the higher one goes in the atmosphere. During an inversion, however, the opposite happens. This means that a layer of warm air high in the atmosphere keeps cooler air close to the ground. Without the constant mixing of upper and lower layers of air, emissions from traffic, factories, and power plants get trapped near the surface. 

These emissions stagnate to a point where they snowball to create poor ambient or outdoor air quality. But the problem is that these emissions also affect indoor spaces. 

Outdoor air pollution infiltrates into buildings,” explains Camfil USA’s Mark Davidson, Manager of Marketing & Technical Materials for commercial and public building air filters.“Without appropriate ventilation, it accumulates and can even react with other indoor air pollutants.”

Inversions Show Why Air Filtration Systems Are ImportantWith climate change creating increasingly chaotic conditions every year, Maryland may have to brace for a future where extreme winters lead to worsening air quality, highlighting the importance of having air filtration systems. 

This problem is by no means isolated to Maryland, by the way. Places like Salt Lake, Denver, and even Los Angeles all experience inversions due to a combination of topographical features and climate. And while air quality sirens tend to go off every summer in Maryland, residents are calling on the government to come up with a long-term solution that actually addresses air pollution at the source.

It’s here where experts are turning to European countries like France, Germany, and in particular, the Netherlands, for inspiration. These countries share something in common: they’re investing billions of dollars to cut their carbon emissions by as much as 30 percent by 2030.

How Air Filters  Can Help

Air filters are designed to capture and remove particles and fumes from air pollution. In particular, they are designed to capture particulate matter (PM), which refers to a mix of solid particles and liquid droplets ranging from 1.0  to 10 microns in diameter. This is important because PM inhalation is a known case of respiratory issues. Worse, fine particulate matter, or PM equal to but no larger than  1 micron in diameter, can enter the deepest recesses of the lungs and cross into the bloodstream. When this happens, the particles can reach the body’s vital organs, leading to health issues such as diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and even obesity.

Thinking Green and Going Beyond Air Filters

Other than air filters,  one of many long-term solutions that protect people from air pollution is to push for cleaner and greener transport solutions, similar to what is being done in the Netherlands. The European nation provides tax benefits to drivers of hybrids and electric vehicles, waiving registration fees and road taxes.

Likewise, Norway offers similar tax benefits, but with the bonus of free parking and access to specific bus lanes, allowing drivers to bypass traffic. Unsurprisingly, Norway currently leads the world in the number of electric vehicles in use, with close to a third of all cars sold in the country is a hybrid or electric vehicle.

Fighting Climate Change Inversions with Air Filters and Purifiers

As the threat of climate change looms over the planet’s climate patterns, it’s feared that inversions may end up becoming increasingly common, leading to more air quality alerts in the future. This underscores the importance of having high efficiency air filters s in indoor spaces, ensuring that any outdoor emissions that make their way inside are quickly captured and removed. 

To learn more about how air filters can improve indoor air quality in buildings and communities, talk to the team at Camfil USA. You can also browse through our product catalog to explore our solutions yourself or find a Camfil USA location near you.  

Lynne Laake 

Camfil USA Air Filters 

T: 888.599.6620 

E: Lynne.Laake@camfil.com

F: Friend  Camfil USA on Facebook

Y: Watch Camfil Videos on YouTube

L: Follow our LinkedIn Page

 

Source:

  1. https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/weather/bs-md-air-quality-alert-20190203-story.html

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Improving Office IAQ with Commercial Air Filtration Systems

People who work every day in a shared office space are all too familiar with what awaits them when they first enter the room. They are greeted by a mix of odors from furniture fabric, the carpet, office equipment, an air-freshener attached to the AC unit, and, of course, the people themselves. All of these smells can fill the air in an enclosed environment, which is why many companies have relied on filters  to keep the air as pleasant as possible.

 

Canada study looks at the health impact of office IAQ

But are they addressing the issue properly?

According to a study conducted by researchers at Purdue University in Indiana, certain airborne pollutants (which is where these smells come from) can build up to dangerous levels in offices, so much so that they can affect worker health and productivity. 

The research team studied an office for a month and found high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be generated by people simply by being in an enclosed environment.  VOC emissions associated with humans and human activity include breath and sweat, as well as clothing, cosmetics, hair products, and deodorant. 

Challenges of Indoor Air Quality in Offices

According to researcher Brandon Boor, one issue creating poor office indoor air quality comes from inadequate ventilation. If an office space isn’t well ventilated, VOCs are unable to escape outside and accumulate indoors, affecting the health and productivity of employees as a result. The study found that people and their activities inside an enclosed space had a significant impact on air quality, even if the room was ventilated. More specifically, the researchers found that compounds carried by human breath lingered in the air long after people left the room.

To monitor air quality, the team installed thousands of sensors in an office inside Purdue University’s Living Labs, along with an instrument called The Nose, which was designed to track levels of ozone (O3), carbon dioxide (CO2), aerosols, and VOCs. 

The study found that levels of compounds off-gassed by personal care products were highest in the morning, presumably when employees arrive at the office having just applied products like hairspray and deodorant. They also found that the more people there were in a room, the higher the concentration of VOCs in the air. 

The study also found that levels of VOCs were up to 20 times higher indoors than outdoors and that proper ventilation was instrumental in exhausting these pollutants outside. 

Why Addressing VOCs is Important for Office Building Occupants 

Studies have associated VOCs with health issues ranging from minor conditions like eye strain, throat irritation, and colds, to something more serious, like cancer. For offices, the most common manifestations of prolonged VOC exposure include problems with concentrating and productivity loss. Whatever the case, offices can benefit from commercial air filters that remove VOCs and other airborne pollutants from enclosed environments. 

According to Miriam Diamond, a professor in the earth sciences department at the University of Toronto, the lack of ventilation increases the risk of indoor air pollution. 

Unfortunately, poor ventilation is a common problem in many offices. 

Many offices have poor air circulation these days, with windows that can’t even be opened in an attempt to be more energy-efficient,” explains Kevin Wood, Vice President of Sales and Marketing  at Camfil USA. “Some offices and commercial premises have outdated ventilation systems that simply move unclean air from one part of the office to another. When outdoor air does enter the ventilation system, pollution from smoke, dust, and pollen will deposit on fans, coils, and ducts.”

Controlling ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ with Both High Efficiency Commercial Industrial Air Filters and Molecular Filters

“Sick building syndrome,” a condition caused by poor ventilation, is characterized by symptoms ranging from headache and stuffy nose to general discomfort. However, opening the windows to let stale indoor air out and fresh outdoor air inside can be impractical if the building is in an area with high levels of outdoor air pollution such as buildings near freeways, construction sites, or industrial zones. 

“High efficiency air filters (MERV 13/13A or higher) are designed to capture and remove a higher ratio of particles from the airstream that are harmful to human health.” says Camfil’s Kevin Wood.  “This is particularly important if higher ventilation rates are used to replace room air more frequently. VOCs are molecular in nature and are up to 10,000 times smaller than particles in the air. For that, you need to consider adding molecular filters, sometimes referred to as carbon filters, to the ventilation system. It may require retrofitting the system to install molecular filters as an integral part of the HVAC system. If that is not feasible, stand-alone air purification systems with molecular filters is a very cost effective solution.”

As today’s employees spend more time indoors than ever, it has never been more important to ensure that they’re breathing clean and safe air.

Things to Consider When Upgrading HVAC Filters or Adding Stand-Alone Air Purification Systems 

When choosing to upgrade to high efficiency air filters or add air purifiers with molecular filters,  it’s best to consult a qualified air filtration professional. High efficiency commercial air and molecular filters have operational requirements that may necessitate adjustments to your system. Avoid the temptation of installing cheap bargain filters in attempt to address the issue. . High quality filters are your solution to assist with providing cleaner indoor air and a wiser investment of your dollars.  If a product is too good to be true, it most likely is. 

For 50 years, Camfil USA has built commercial air filtration systems for commercial buildings and offices. Talk to our air filtration expert near your location today to learn more about our line of air filter solutions. 

Canada study looks at the health impact of office IAQ

Related Video Are you Safe?

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Camfil USA Update – Reduce Risk of Infectious Virus

Is the Coronavirus (COVID-19) threat to human health. Camfil a Global Leader in Indoor Air Quality Educates Using Comprehensive Resource

Facts on Viruses

New Jersey, NJ, March 02, 2020- How Camfil can help in reducing the risk of infectious virus in the indoor air using high efficiency air filtration 

A research team comprising scientists from the United States, Canada and Spain reveals that more than 800 million viruses fall on every square meter of the planetary boundary layer (the lowest part of the atmosphere) every day – the equivalent of 12 viruses for every person in the UK, 25 viruses per person in Canada.

How does Virus spread

Download resource on reducing the risk of infection through virus by combating the air pathogens by Camfil 

The risk of getting an infection through virus is high as, unlike bacteria, rain cannot wash them away.

A potentially devastating new disease has infected thousands of people since it was discovered in Wuhan, China in December last year. Chinese cities have been placed in lockdown in a bid to control the spread of the virus.

This latest strain of the disease is particularly threatening because it causes pneumonia but will not respond to antibiotics. However, coronavirus (COVID-19) is by no means the only threat to human health.

How to reduce risk of infection from covid19

This, of course, begs an important question –  Camfil content team published an in-depth piece on air quality in China https://cleanair.camfil.us/2017/10/05/fight-air-pollution-china/

What can you do to protect yourself 

How to combat infection in air

From these infections (not to mention other biological contaminants that pose health risks for building occupants such as smoke, mite, bacteria, house dust and pollen)?

Unlike with many other risks, we have no choice about breathing. But while most of us don’t have the power to make the air cleaner, there are some things individuals can do to reduce the effect of these infectious particulates in the air.

HEPA filters can reduce the impact of the virus from the air 

HEPA filters have been proven over decades across a wide range of healthcare facilities and life sciences applications, controlling the spread of airborne particles and organisms such as viruses and bacteria.

Indeed, many professional engineering organizations recommend HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in hospitals, infection control clinics and other healthcare facilities to eliminate microbes and other dangerous particles.

True high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters most commonly are rated by test methods that begin with a minimum capture efficiency. The efficiency of HEPA filters is measured at MPPS (most penetrating particle size) that means this is the lowest efficiency of the filter.

For smaller or larger particles that filter will perform even better. MPPS is typically between 0,1-0,25 micrometer in size. Bacteria and viruses are often smaller than that but typically attach themselves to larger particles. It’s also important to understand HEPA filters do not actively kill living organisms. They capture and hold them within the matrix of the filter.

High efficiency air filters can be installed in HVAC systems, filtering out biological pollutants and particulate matter carried by the airstream, preventing them from entering or recirculating back into the room.

As unfiltered air flows through the HVAC unit’s ductwork, the air filter captures and holds the airborne pollutants.
For further risk mitigation of airborne pathogens, it is recommended to upgrade or install the highest possible efficiency HEPA filtration (H13 or higher) in the existing ventilation system. This will improve your chances to avail an extra layer of protection against airborne pathogens.

What kind of air filters you need for covid 19What kind of solutions you need to reduce the risk of virus in the air? 

Visit this visual resource on Camfil here.
https://www.camfil.com/en/insights/life-science-and-healthcare/virus

Virus containment at health care facilities and biosafety labs is very much about control measures and precautions for airborne exposure. Measures include ventilation, pressure differentials, exhaust ventilation, air filtration and cleaning, ultraviolet and germicidal irradiation (UVGI) and even temperature and humidity control.

Air filtration solutions depend on the category of the risk when in application. High-density areas with most affected surroundings such as laboratories, containment units, quarantined zones need much higher level of protection compare to low risk exposure surroundings or controlled areas like homes or small business space. High risk application needs air containment and filtration equipment of HEPA Class H13 or higher along with use of special personnel equipment and clothing, as well as a segregated air supply, among other precautions.

Consider using air cleaners for fast and easy retrofit in case of a sub-standard ventilation system for improvement in air filtration. It is also a way to rapidly boost the air quality of an already good functioning system when there is an increased risk that demands even better protection.

For crucial high-risk applications such as quarantined zones and laboratories, Camfil, a global leader in air filtration, provides compelling containment equipment.
However, an air cleaner is recommended for use where the risk of airborne contamination is elevated.

Both containment units and air cleaners cannot be installed anywhere as they are specific to the risk and nature of the surroundings, but an air cleaner can never replace a full containment set where there is a need.

On the other hand, low risk applications can consider using EPA filters or ePM1 80% or higher category of air filtration.

“There are more than 60 biosafety laboratories classified as Level 4 (highest risk) by an international commission in the world.

Camfil has already delivered containment solutions for many of them in China, France, Switzerland, Germany and the U.S.A” – Anders Sundvik, Vice President Research & Development, Camfil
See the graphic created by Camfil experts to understand air filtration and containment requirements on the basis of its application.

In order to educate and create awareness about role of air filtration and containment of airborne infections in order to reduce the risk indoors, Camfil has created a series of education based infographics that provides value-based insights in order to combat the virus in the air. Please find them here.

Camfil’s clean air solutions help to reduce the potential spread of diseases through the air handling systems of biosafety labs and hospitals.

What is virus protection from Camfil filters

For more information about our range of HEPA, EPA and ULPA filters, visit www.camfil.com and reach the experts.

Contact Camfil Air Filteration expert near you. 

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What will the ultra-low emissions zone mean for London and the cities of the future?

Learn what London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone means for the future of outdoor/indoor air quality in cities around the world and commercial air filtration systems.

Beginning April 8, London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone came into full effect, part of a greater effort to improve the city’s air quality and ease the burden on commercial air filtration systems. Vehicles will have to comply with strict exhaust emissions standards or pay a daily levy to drive into central London. Under the ULEZ, the cars emitting the most pollution will have to pay £12.50, while trucks and buses have to pay £100. 

That’s on top of the daily £11.50 congestion charge, a major contributor to air pollution in the city. According to data from INRIX, a traffic analytics firm, London’s car traffic may be in decline, but congestion is still high. In fact, London is the most congested city after Moscow, with drivers spending an average of 74 hours each year being stuck in traffic. 

With so many cars stuck on the road, it’s not surprising that air pollution from car exhaust continues to be a problem. 

Combustion generates H2O, NO, NO2, CO, CO2 and particulate (matter). Combustion can also emit hydrocarbon gases, vapors, and organic particles,” explained Mark Davidson, Manager of Marketing & Technical Materials for commercial air filters at Camfil USA and active committee member for ASHRAE. “Some of the particles are large and settle out of the air stream, but the majority of the particles are submicron and remain suspended in the air for long periods of time.”

How Does The ULEZ Affect Outdoor Indoor Air Quality?

The goal of the ULEZ is to encourage Londoners to move to cleaner, more efficient vehicles. Gasoline-powered cars, vans, and coaches that meet the Euro 4 emissions standard, and diesel trucks that meet Euro 6 standards, are exempt from paying the levy. By moving to cleaner vehicles and discouraging cars from entering Central London, mayor Sadiq Khan expects that the capital’s outdoor and indoor air quality, which he says is responsible for thousands of premature deaths, will improve over time.

What Does This Mean in American Cities?

Unsurprisingly, applying these kinds of levies in America, with its love of automobiles, may be easier said than done. However, change is happening in some American cities. For example, New York City recently completed a four-year renovation of Times Square, which has now been revamped into an 85,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza. New York has also proposed transforming the congested Grand Street and Bedford Avenue into car-free zones. If successful, both projects would go a long way towards improving air quality in these areas. 

Los Angeles is one of the country’s cities with the highest air pollution. Homes and buildings near major roads often need to be equipped with high efficiency air filters. LA has plans in the works to re-imagine their future of transportation. City officials are setting their sights on how both shared and self-driving vehicles can be integrated onto the roadways.

LA is also using its Great Streets Program to encourage walking in the city by reinvigorating thoroughfares with pedestrian paths, plazas, and art. On the other hand, San Francisco is working on plans to ban cars and add bike lanes on Market Street, one of SF’s busiest streets. 

Other fast-growing cities like Denver and Charlotte, both of which suffer from serious air pollution and particularly ozone pollution, are considering long-term initiatives that would focus on pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and multi-modal transportation over private cars.

High-Efficiency Air Filters Provide Protection 

Given how much Americans love their cars, it’s not surprising that U.S. cities have been slow  to take a tough stance against automotive pollution like London. The concept of banning certain diesel-powered trucks or applying levies and restrictions when entering certain parts of cities by car may simply be too unpopular with some people. Unfortunately, transportation is the fastest-growing contributor to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Unless something changes, many homes, retail stores and commercial office buildings in high traffic areas may need to install high efficiency air filters to protect those inside from breathing air polluted with the emissions from too many vehicles.   

Choose Air Filters from Trusted Air Filter Manufacturers

When choosing air filters for industrial or commercial use, it’s important to work with experienced air filter manufacturers who consider all the variables when determining the proper air filtration solution for the facility or individual room.  To learn more about the importance of commercial air filtration systems and the role they play in maintaining clean indoor air quality, get in touch with Camfil USA. 

Your local Camfil location will have filtration experts to help you decide which industrial air filter is best for your contaminant needs.

https://www.camfil.us/Filter-Technology/Indoor-Air-Quality-IAQ/Sources/Combustion-by-products/

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How Understanding the Sources of Poor Indoor Air Quality at a Hospital Leads to Better Care and Cost Reductions

As studies show the importance of indoor air quality in healthcare facilities, learn what hospitals and clinics need from quality air filter manufacturers. 

Indoor air pollution is recognized as a serious health risk, but perhaps nowhere more important than in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, nursing homes, and dental clinics. In recent years, working to improve indoor air quality has emerged as a priority in the healthcare industry.

 

Air quality is a critical, but often invisible aspect of creating a healthy indoor environment. Poor air quality has been linked to a wide variety of negative health outcomes, from respiratory issues like allergies and asthma to nosocomial infections which is defined as (i.e. infections not present during the patient’s admission. In other words, improving air quality not only helps people suffering from existing health conditions, but it also helps prevent any further symptoms in patients.

 

“Many public hospitals were constructed years ago when HVAC technology was not as highly advanced as today. Practically every single piece of equipment that moves air in and out of a healthcare facility has undergone a transformation since then. As a result, the air drawn into older facilities or those that have not been upgraded, may not be treated the same as those benefiting from the more advanced equipment and engineering available today.” explains David Blackwell, Director of Healthcare for Camfil USA.  

 

What Causes Poor Air Quality in Hospitals

 The contaminants that cause air quality concerns in healthcare facilities are generally from two sources.  First, there’s contaminants that come from the outside environment typically found in crowded urban areas such as car exhaust, nearby industrial facilities, power plants, and general smog. Hospitals are also in rural agricultural areas which have their own unique sources of contaminants from fields of crops or herds of cattle for example.

 The second source is from internally generated contaminants. The constant movement of people and equipment is always present in a hospital. Housekeeping crews move rapidly from room to room using various chemicals and cleaning agents in each. Internal laundry services wash and dry tons of sheets and blankets daily. Food service prepares and delivers meals throughout the entire building. The process of removing supplies used in ORs, such as tubing or packaging from single use instruments, and prepping the room for the next procedure is a major undertaking. Of course the patients themselves are an obvious source of contaminants through coughing or sneezing which can introduce pathogens into the airstream. 

 

 Can Air Filters Help Reduce Contaminants from Both Sources?

 The short answer is yes. The longer answer is a bit more complicated. Contaminants from both outside and inside sources can be broken into two separate categories.

 The first would be particulate matter which the EPA defines as either a solid or liquid particles suspended in the airstream. The pollen from plants outside the hospital, dirt spread into the air from shaking blankets or mucus from a sneeze are examples.

 Particulate air filters are designed to capture a certain percentage of particles in various sizes. A filter rated as a MERV 14/14A filter for example,  should remove 75% of all particles larger than 0.3 microns while a MERV 16/16A should remove much more; 95%. HEPA filters are used to capture even more of the smallest particles; up to 99.99% of all particles greater than 0.3 microns.

 The other category of contaminants which are of concern in a healthcare facility is gases or vapors. These are introduced into the airstream from many sources such as fumes from an idling ambulance, cleaning agents or other sterilizing chemicals and unwanted viruses  from sick patients.

These gases and vapors are controlled by molecular filters which are sometimes referred to as activated carbon filters. The molecules that make up these dangerous or unpleasant vapors are up to 10,000 times smaller than particles and are controlled through a process known as adsorption.  

“Healthcare facilities and design engineers look to ASHRAE Standard 170 as a guideline when evaluating how to filter the air for different spaces within the hospital.” says Blackwell. “Particulate air filters are well established in healthcare but we still work to raise the bar with regards to air quality as technology improves these filters over time. Molecular filters to control dangerous vapors are becoming more and more of a topic as we understand further about the effects of inhaling these gases.”

Improving Indoor Air Quality in Hospitals Also Saves Money 

Improving indoor air quality is also a surefire way to save money. According to one study conducted in California, researchers found that improving air quality would allow hospitals in the state to save as much as $193,100,184 over a two-year period between 2005-2007.

Look for Air Filter Manufacturers with Healthcare Experience

If you are looking for commercial air filtration systems for hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and other healthcare facilities, it’s important to work with air filter manufacturers and distributors with experience in this niche. For more than 50 years, Camfil USA has designed and built air filtration systems for hospitals and healthcare facilities around the world. Talk to our team today to learn more about our line of air filters for hospitals and healthcare facilities. 

 

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HEPA and Molecular Filtration Systems Used to Mitigate Health Dangers of Cigarette Smoking 

Why smokers are at risk even if air pollution levels are low

Air filters are a commonly recommended solution for protecting homes, work environments,  retail stores and buildings in areas suffering from high air pollution levels. They are especially important for people who face a greater health risk when exposed to air pollution including pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing respiratory issues.

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, suggests that air pollution levels classified as “good” by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can still be dangerous to the lungs of cigarette smokers, who are already exposed to copious volumes of cigarette smoke.

https://www.camfil.com/en-us/products/molecular-filters

“The burning of tobacco generates more than 4,500 compounds, including about 50 possible carcinogens,” explains Matthew Crouch, Director of Clean Process at Camfil USA. “These include toxic nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrocarbons, not to mention nicotine.”

The study, conducted by researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, shows that smokers with and without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a respiratory condition defined by chronic difficulty in breathing, face a higher risk of lung damage even when air pollution levels are considered safe. Unfortunately, this is because the cells lining the alveoli in the lungs of smokers are more sensitive to air pollution, causing lung disease. In contrast, the lung cells of nonsmokers are more resistant to low levels of airborne pollutants.

According to Dr. Ronald Crystal, the study’s senior author and chairman of the Department of Genetic Medicine and the Bruce Webster Professor of Internal Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, the key takeaway of their research is that smoking is bad for your health, no matter how you look at it.

Importance of Great Indoor Air Quality to Smokers

Because the cells in the lungs of smokers are less capable of protecting the lungs from air pollution, it’s important for these people to maintain great indoor air quality inside their homes or buildings.

According to Dr. Crystal, lung diseases caused by environmental factors, whether it’s tobacco smoking or air pollution exposure, typically begin at the smallest airways of the lungs. It helps to imagine the lungs as an upside-down tree, with the trachea as the trunk and the outermost branches as the small airways.

Dr. Crystal’s team believe that cigarette smoke may be changing the chemistry of the cells, known as epithelial cells that line these airways. When healthy, epithelial cells defend the lungs against foreign matter by secreting mucus, which expels particles out of the airways as phlegm or sputum.

Although the smallest of these airways are no more than two millimeters thick, they are still susceptible to airborne pollutants like particulate matter (PM).

“PM2.5, or particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, is especially dangerous because they are small enough to penetrate the deepest recesses of the lungs,” said Crouch. 

And it just so happens that PM2.5 is one of the many byproducts of burning tobacco. 

HEPA and Molecular Filtration Systems Used to Mitigate Health Dangers of Cigarette Smoking 

For these reasons and more, tobacco smoking has been banned in public areas around the world. In indoor areas where smoking is allowed, such as airport lounges, hotel rooms, and select commercial establishments, HEPA and molecular filtration systems are often used to remove particulate matter and gaseous contaminants produced by burning tobacco to ensure the safety and comfort of non-smokers in the same room or building.

To help remove the particular matter out of secondhand smoke, HEPA filters and other high efficiency air filters may be installed into existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units. Not all existing units are capable of handling the design requirements of these filter types. If not, stand-alone room air purifiers with HEPA filters installed can be utilized.  Whichever style of equipment is used, the HVAC system draws in air, the air filter traps and removes the particle contaminants from the airstream and returns the filtered air back into the room. 

Of course, this is an oversimplification of what is often a complex, multi-stage process, but it more or less describes the principles of mechanical air filtration, which is the most effective air filtration method. 

Particulate matter produced by burning tobacco can range in diameters, which fall within the capture capabilities of HEPA or ULPA filters. As for the gaseous pollutants that make up cigarette smoke, the second filter type offers a solution. 

To capture gaseous pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and smaller solid particles, molecular air filters can be employed. Molecular filters are produced from a superabsorbent carbonaceous material with a surface covered by a microscopic network of pores and fissures no larger than 1 micron. A molecular filter can be created by heating carbon to extremely high temperatures. This process shrinks the material and creates the pores and fissures on its surface. There are so many of these, if you were to spread out a pellet of activated carbon as you would when flattening a crumpled piece of paper, you could have a sheet with the surface area of a soccer field!

The process of “activating” carbon allows it to trap solid and gas molecules, which enter the filter media’s largest pores on the surface and scatter until they are trapped in its smallest nooks and crannies inside. Molecular air filtration systems that use activated carbon are especially effective at absorbing the VOCs found in cigarette smoke. 

It’s not surprising why commercial air purifiers that use activated carbon and HEPA filters are a popular solution in:

  • Museums – Removing nitrogen and sulfur oxides
  • Pesticide factories – Removing toxic chemical fumes
  • Food and beverage manufacturing facilities – Removing cooking odors
  • Airports – Removing diesel and jet fuel fumes

A Final Note on Air Filters as Protection Against Cigarette Smoke

If you think that using air filters will eliminate the health risks of smoking, think again. Ultimately, the best way to eliminate the dangers of smoking to you and your loved ones is to quit altogether. But in instances where this is impractical, HEPA or molecular air filters whether installed in existing HVAC systems or in stand-alone air purifier, can protect other people in your household from secondhand smoke. In addition, it’s important to remember that not all air filters are built the same. As with any other type of product, some filters are better than others. When in doubt, talk to a trusted air filter manufacturer to discuss your options after providing the details of your air quality challenges. 

Get in touch with Camfil USA to learn more about the different ways to protect your indoor air quality from airborne pollutants. You may also explore our catalog of air filters to learn more about our product line.

 

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