Edwin Chadwick, a British social reformer, documented levels of geographic and social inequalities in health in the year of 1842, publishing his findings in his document “Report On The Sanitary Condition Of The Labouring Population”.
Throughout his research, Chadwick found undeniable links between poor sanitation and poor health, and this evidence would eventually lead cities throughout Britain to organize clean water supplies and centralize their sewage systems. This, consequently, lowered the rate of infectious disease, specifically cholera.
This isn’t the only example. Reforms of a similar nature throughout the 20th century focused heavily on food safety and outdoor air pollution.
Today, indoor air pollution is more of a concern than ever, even with the normalization and balancing out of COVID-19 infections and a drop in various safety protocols in most states.
School air purification is a specific area of concern, as students are returning to school in larger numbers.
According to the Lancet COVID-19 commission, schools are “chronically under-ventilated”. Almost 90% of American classrooms have been found to have disturbingly low ventilation rates, and across Europe, it’s been found that 66% of classrooms are not meeting healthy standards.
Back to the USA, it’s been found that almost one child in 13 has asthma, which makes one particularly vulnerable to allergens typically found in schools.
What’s more, poor out-door air conditions make their way indoors.
All of this can negatively affect academic performance, neurodevelopment, and puts people at risk for disease and cancer.
Consider that most people spend most of their time indoors, and under-ventilated spaces have been linked to a number of health problems, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation
Increased absenteeism at work and decreased productivity is caused, in large part, by poor ventilation and unclean air.
While things are stabilizing regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, urgency on the matter of indoor air purification is more prevalent than ever.
We’ve learned a lot from this pandemic, namely, the fact that the virus which causes COVID-19 spreads between people primarily by clinging to aerosol particles from the lungs which linger in the air, especially in ill-ventilated rooms. Close contact and infected surfaces are, comparatively, less of a concern.
This hasn’t attracted the attention of the government as much as it should, but it stands to reason that clean, well-ventilated, and air purified rooms in buildings—particularly schools—is not only possible but imperative.
There are ways of educating people on this topic. Some things to know:
- Carbon-dioxide concentrations are a good proxy for ventilation.
- Affordable sensors can detect gas in rooms, and they can also give people information on when to open windows or upgrade their AC systems.
It would be a huge step forward for a national indoor-air-quality standard to be put in place, perhaps through required ventilation certifications for buildings. This would be no different in principle to food-hygiene certificates for restaurants.
All this would require is a bill, and it wouldn’t need to be a large one. Raising the ventilation standard in American elementary and secondary schools has already proven to cost less than 0.1% of the typical education budget for the country.
Furthermore, President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan assigns $123bn for the improvement of school infrastructure, with ventilation as a top priority.
Consistent disinfection and air purification for schools would not only improve the health of students and staff, but also improve academic performance, including math and reading scores, and overall attention in class.
Mister E provides air purification services as well as electrostatic disinfection and other cleaning services for schools and other industries. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out how we can keep you, your students, and staff safe and reduce worker and student absenteeism.