Health and Comfort

A cutaway cartoon of a bunch of different office spaces on three different floors of a building. Each room has a little to a lot of gray smoke in it, indicating polluted air.

Lancet Covid-19 Commission finds IAQ standards too low

the Lancet Covid-19 Commission released a report on current IAQ standards. They found they don’t protect against the spread of infectious diseases in the air. The report considers ventilation, filtration, and disinfection rates in five types of small and medium-sized spaces. These include office, restaurant dining room, elementary classroom, hotel lobby, and supermarket. The report states, “there is no debate that the current targets are too low”.

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Breathing Easier with Better Indoor Air Quality    

It’s well known that climate change impacts everything from polar ice caps to seasonal trends. It also silently impacts our health in ways we’re only starting to understand. Dr. Kari Nadeau, a key figure in the field of environmental health, is sounding the alarm on these under-recognized threats — most notably, the drastic alteration of pollen seasons and a staggering rise in wildfires.  

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People presenting as a heterosexual mixed race couple and their female-bodied child are sitting on a couch wearing masks and looking very serious.

High-Risk Populations and The Perils of Poor Indoor Air Quality    

Depending on the type of pollutant, and how much of it there is and how long one is exposed, the outcomes can range from mild symptoms to life-threatening situations. Even the most robust among us can be felled by carbon monoxide poisoning within minutes.

However, it is crucial to understand that some people are at a higher risk. Knowing who is at a higher risk and why can help us address the needs of the most vulnerable.

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside: ASHRAE Redefines Air Quality Again

With colder weather setting in across the country, people are closing their windows to fresh air and opening another window to poor air quality. From parents to property managers, at this time of year, it is vital to prioritize the well-being of your occupants. 

Enter ASHRAE (Association of Society of Heating, Cooling, Refrigerations, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Standard 241, released in July 2023: “Control of Infectious Aerosols.” This new standard creates rigorous requirements to reduce the risk of disease transmission. It addresses exposure to infectious aerosols in both new and existing buildings and major renovations. Designed to promote more healthy indoor spaces, Standard 241 offers a robust response to the present challenges of infectious diseases in shared spaces.

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A picture of 3 kids in school. A very young child who presents as a Black girl is in focus in the middle of this photo, smiling and looking right into the camera while holding a pencil over a notebook at a school desk. In the foreground is a blurry person who presents as a very young Black girl and is also smiling, looking into the camera and holding a pen. In the background, a person who presents as a young white boy is looking down at the desk.

School Safety 101: Ventilation’s Key Role

In the struggle against the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, the role of ventilation in indoor spaces continues to be vital. A 2022 study from Italy’s Marche region sheds light on a key aspect of this: how more ventilation can impact the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in indoor spaces in schools. This study explores how fresh air can be a potent partner in efforts to keep students and staff safe.

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