IAQ Research of the Month – October 2021

Oct 30, 2021

This newsletter summarizes new research related to indoor air quality (IAQ)

Research Summaries

When teachers could visualize the carbon dioxide levels in their classrooms, they opened windows and maintained effective air exchanges, which helps prevent COVID-19 transmission. Environmental Research

This study evaluates ventilation rate schema for respiratory infection control. In contrast to ASHRAE Standard 62.1, it recommends the ventilation rate be a function of distance between occupants and suggests that 21 cfm/person (10 L/s/p) would be a good minimum ventilation standard for respiratory infection control. Indoor Air

Installing activated carbon filters to remove ozone has a good cost-to-benefit ratio, especially in buildings with high occupancy. Indoor Air

Contrary to previous research, this study found that the human body can adapt to high concentrations of pure carbon dioxide (20,000 ppm) without adverse effects.  It suggests that some negative health effects at high concentrations cannot be attributed to CO2 but are most likely caused by other pollutants such as bioeffluents (e.g. body odors). Indoor Air

Chemical intolerance may affect one in five people in the U.S. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Surgical masks are loaded with semivolatile and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pose potential health risks. Commonly found chemicals include naphthalene, acrolein, and various PAHs and phthalates. Environmental Science & Technology

Indoor bioaerosol concentrations were not greatly affected by opening windows. Building and Environment

Household characteristics including presence of carpeting, low floor cleaning frequency, older home age, presence of pets, and indoor relative humidity above 45% were positively associated with the presence of multiple indoor biocontaminants such as dust mites, animal dander, bacteria, and mold. Indoor Air

During the heating season, suppling hot air at the ceiling can create thermally stratified conditions that interferes with dilution and reduces the effectiveness of ventilation. Indoor Air

Despite claims of removing VOCs, consumer-grade air purifiers using oxidation had varying degrees of effectiveness, with some being essentially ineffective and others forming by-products. Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Exposure to essential oil from an ultrasonic diffuser changed cognitive ability in a simulated office setting. Indoor Air

Featured Online Course: CIAQM

Although most of our classes are designed for consultants or contractors, Indoor Sciences also developed a class that caters to facility managers, building engineers, and others that exclusively work in a single building or campus. Unlike consultants that hop around between different buildings every day, facility managers must deal with the “soft side” of indoor air quality: being a good listener and handling complaints with respect.

Indoor Sciences teaches the IAQ Manager Course as a 20-hour online course. It helps prepare students for the Certified IAQ Manager (CIAQM) designation offered by the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC).

To learn more about this course, visit our page: IAQ Manager Course.

Additional Resources

In the Halloween spirit…  Listen to this spooky tale and inspire the next generation of industrial hygienists!

Don Weekes and I consulted on this AIHA comic that is out of this world.

Ian Cull, PE, CIH
[email protected]
(312) 920-9393