Recognizing Air Pollution’s Link to the Global Burden of Disease
January 19, 2021
As we continue to battle the spread of a global viral pandemic, the role environmental factors play has become more apparent. Links between air pollution and the global burden of disease remain strong. Below, the experts with Action Services Group explain how air pollution increases the spread of airborne viruses and potential long-term mitigation plans that should be considered.
The Global Burden of Disease
A study in 2015 that focused on the link between air pollution and the global burden of disease found that ambient exposure to particle matter at or below 2.5-microns (PM 2.5) was directly related to 4.2 million deaths. In other words, the 2015 study demonstrated that PM 2.5 was the fifth ranking mortality risk factor throughout the world. This means the very air we breathe could be facilitating our own premature death.
What is PM 2.5?
PM 2.5 are airborne particles that range between 0.1- and 2.5-microns. These particles reduce visibility, causing the atmosphere to appear hazy. Beyond that, however, these particles are small enough to reach deep into the lungs when we inhale. Because of this behavior, they are highly likely to facilitate the spread of airborne viruses, as well as increase the damages caused by pre-existing medical conditions.
To learn more about PM 2.5 and how it affects your indoor air quality, try reading our blog Indoor Air Quality Concerns in Office Buildings. We walk you through what PM 2.5 is, how it relates to your office building, and suggested IAQ solutions!
Impacts of Air Pollution on Airborne Viruses
In 2020, a global pandemic brought into focus the importance of air quality. Although this is not a new concept, it certainly has never been quite so publicly understood as it is today. From face masks to social distancing guidelines, it has never been more apparent that airborne viruses can easily spread diseases.
The Relevance of SARS-CoV-2
SARS-CoV-2, also known as the coronavirus or COVID-19, brought the spread of airborne viruses to the forefront of our discussions and concerns. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that COVID-19 is typically transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets that are released and inhaled as people talk, cough or sneeze.
As a result, we started to clean surfaces more, wore masks, and began social distancing. But this may not be enough. Smaller particles, like PM 2.5, do not settle as quickly as larger ones. This means they do not reach these surfaces as immediately as heavier particles and remain airborne longer. In fact, PM 2.5 may stay suspended in the air closest to our breathing zone for hours, making surface sanitation insufficient.
Preventing the Spread of Airborne Viruses
Because of the nature of PM 2.5, proper ventilation becomes increasingly important when it comes to maintaining a healthy environment. But this does not mean just throwing fans into a room to move air.
Air Exchange Rates (ACH), quality air filters, clean to dirty airflow patterns, balancing, air dampers, and humidity control also must be considered when it comes to reducing the spread of airborne viruses and ensuring proper ventilation.
Most buildings, both residential and commercial, operate off of centralized HVAC systems. This means that a contaminated individual may not only infect those within the same room, but those in other locations throughout the facility because the centralized system circulates the same air to every area of the building.
COVID-19 is one illness. But there are hundreds of other airborne viruses that affect global populations every year. Simply preventing the spread of COVID-19 is not enough. We need to consider long-term mitigation plans if we want to help reduce the likelihood of the next global pandemic. Because of the intrinsic nation of the lighter PM 2.5 atoms, sanitation of surfaces is a diluted solution.
Establishing a Long-Term Mitigation Plan
One of the most effective solutions is to capture aerosolized PM 2.5 contaminants as close to the source as possible. This prevents the centralized system from redistributing the contaminants to other areas within the facility.
The Halo Smart P does just that. With laboratory-grade H14 HEPA filtration and built-in directional airflow patterns, the Halo Smart P can reduce the concentration level of PM 2.5 contaminants by up to 74%, with a 99.995 efficiency. Meaning that the Halo system will effectively reduce the pollution loads (pathogenic & non-pathogenic) in an average room at 3,000 cu’ within 10 minutes. While further test data shows a log reduction of actual viruses within 15 minutes, with consistent log reductions throughout a 90-minute challenge test.
Reducing Airborne Viruses with Help from Action Services Group
At Action Services Group, we strive to ensure every facility we work with is ready with the best defenses. This includes being ready to reduce airborne viruses. As a national distributor of the Erlab Halo Smart P premier air filtration station, we can help keep your facility’s occupants in the healthiest environment possible.
If you are looking to increase the safety of your occupants and are interested in learning more about the importance of proper air filtration, contact Action Services Group today. Call 610-558-9773 or email [email protected], you can also schedule a call by clicking the button below.
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“We are thrilled with our new air purification system and our whole organization can rest easier knowing our buildings indoor air quality is 99.995% filtered of all pollutants. The installation crew was quick, professional, and they cleaned up after themselves. Thank you, Action Services group!”
Director of Human Resources – Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Center