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Scientists call for shift in approach to airborne risk in buildings

Scientists call for shift in approach to airborne risk in buildings

almost 3 years ago

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Calls are growing for the World Health Organisation’s IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) guidelines to be extended to include airborne pathogens in a move that could revolutionise the ventilation and air conditioning industry.

A group of more than 40 scientists has called for a ‘paradigm shift’ in building design and standards in relation to indoor air quality so that the approach is as rigorous as it is for food, sanitation and drinking water.

Medical professionals have been calling for greater priority to be given to ventilation for some time and the Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened their arguments and ambition. Read our previous article on How Covid-19 has Reinvented the Ventilation Sector.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has furthered our understanding of how respiratory infections are transmitted and the importance of protecting against public health and economic impacts. The scientists in this group of campaigners are now demanding that new mechanisms are introduced to keep pathogen levels to a minimum using a combination of technology and legislation.

As well as preventing disease, the scientists suggest changes will reduce exposure to other air pollutants and improve performance and wellbeing. Ventilation is seen as being key to reducing the chance of people being cross-infected, yet the experts raise concerns that the new technology and latest innovations that are already available are not widely being used in public buildings around the world.

The answer, claim the scientists, is the integration of IAQ targets into building standards and design. You may also be interested in our article on How air conditioning manufacturers are responding to the wellbeing boom and demand for fresher air