Circumventing Covid-19 with better ventilation and air quality – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-07-20 04:50:42 –

GOutdoor rallies provided people with a safer alternative than meeting indoors during the Covid-19 pandemic. But for people who spend their days in crowded indoor spaces, such as office buildings, factory workers, and school students, how can they bring the indoor environment closer to the outdoors? It has better air quality and ventilation.

However, federal regulations are inadequate to improve indoor ventilation, and few states are working to improve it.Examined Covid-19 US State Policy Database And found it only Minnesota, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington have clear occupational health and safety standards to promote better air and / or ventilation quality.

This issue goes far beyond preventing Covid-19 infection. Minimum indoor air quality requirements reduce the annual spread of influenza, which kills tens of thousands of people each year, and may also help improve chronic respiratory illnesses, including: asthma..


Workplace air quality and ventilation standards The update is significantly delayed. As the country forms a new normal in the wake of a pandemic, it is necessary to prioritize improving occupational health and safety, especially in poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

Mechanical ventilation systems can take outside air into a building, recirculate the air to increase the frequency of room air replacement, or clean the air through an efficient filter. When the outside air is clean, increasing ventilation reduces indoor air pollutants, including particles of all sizes. Given that infectious substances such as viruses and bacteria are small particles that can remain suspended in the air for extended periods of time, increased ventilation in combination with a filtration system that traps pathogens and other particles is Reduce airborne propagation Of infectious diseases.


Workplaces with high Covid-19 infection rates have the greatest need for improved ventilation to support the health of workers.Long-term care facilities are experienced Especially terrible outbreak..Data from California And Washington It shows a particularly high percentage of Covid-19 cases among workers in restaurant kitchens and food manufacturing facilities — Over 90,000 workers Meat packaging and food processing plants have been tested positive for Covid-19. These industries have relatively low wages and are often poor workplace quality,and Disproportionately There are a large number of color workers. Despite the importance of improving indoor air quality, policy makers are not responding to the urgent need for more protection standards.

The state’s first attempt to address occupational health and safety concerns when reopening school insufficient.. The guidelines that facilitate the return to face-to-face education focused primarily on physical barriers and physical distances.Importantly, these efforts Importance of air flow As a means of prevention Transmission of aerosol disease Between teachers and students. If this is not fixed in the future, many people will be unnecessarily infected in indoor workspaces. However, most states do not require buildings to be equipped with better ventilation, such as highly efficient particulate air (HEPA)filter.

Improving indoor air quality is especially important as the state rolls back the remaining Covid-19 limits. If face mask obligations and social distance requirements are not met, cleaner indoor air will help reduce the transmission of infections and maintain people’s health.This can be achieved: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has already Mandated stronger ventilation guidelines for health care settings. This should be extended to other working settings.

It will be in the best interests of both public health And business As the United States recovers from the effects of the pandemic, enforce stronger indoor air quality regulations for the workplace, at the expense of higher energy use.When people can Breathe better, Performance is improved.Good ventilation Improved cognitive function,increase Productivity,and Fewer days absent..

Even without Sufficient urgent standards From OSHA to reduce worker exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, the state Recommendations From the American Society of Heating, Refrigering and Air-Conditioning Engineers, we require higher air exchange rates and higher quality air filtration in all workplaces. Currently, five states have specific occupational air quality and ventilation standards. New York and Oregon have recently introduced infectious disease standards in the workplace. Other states need to do the same.

The United States has missed many opportunities to develop policies to protect essential workers from Covid-19 and other respiratory illnesses. In the future, we can stop these preventable diseases and deaths.Our elected officials can invest in the workplace infrastructureProvides ventilation that improves health and well-being, especially for low-income and colored workers.

Leslie Bowden is an economist and professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health. Will Raderman is a researcher at Boston University’s School of Public Health working on the Covid-19 US State Policy Database. Patricia Fabian is an environmental engineer and associate professor at Boston University’s Faculty of Public Health.

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