If there’s one document that every school administrator needs to see regarding improving air quality in their school buildings, it’s this one:
This is the most recent report from the Lancet Commission Task Force on Safe Work, Safe School, and Safe Travel, compiled by a team of scientists (including Dr. Shelly Miller).
The primary takeaway should be this from the report overview:
“School infrastructure has been chronically underfunded, and schools may never see another influx of monies like this. Therefore, it is imperative that pandemic relief for schools be applied to enhancements that are evidence-based, provide long term value, and do not create additional pollutants that may be harmful to the health of students, teachers, and staff.”
(Emphasis is our own – this is especially in light of a recent class action lawsuit against another manufacturer over harmful byproducts of their bipolar ionization technology, and also in light of federal officials seeking better rules about schools’ indoor air quality. As one ASHRAE task force member put it: “”When the money was distributed, it didn’t say the magic words: ‘You have to use it on proven technologies.'”)
Per the report: “Unfortunately, there are reports of schools spending millions of dollars on unproven or largely ineffective air cleaning technologies like ionizers and other measures such as surface disinfection supplies.”
It is critical we use the American Rescue Plan federal funding for improving the infrastructure in our schools’ air quality. But we must also beware of using those funds on potentially harmful technologies. We need definitive, conclusive, and useful information like that contained in this report.
We recommend everybody read the Lancet Commission report, especially school facilities managers and superintendents.
Some of the more important information included in this report:
- Healthy School Building Interventions For Airborne Infectious Diseases Must Be Evidence Based
- Schools Are Chronically under Ventilated
- Health Co-Benefits Go Beyond Disease Transmission
Benefits to students that improve with indoor air quality include:
- Better test scores
- Improvements in math, reading, and science scores
- Increased cognitive function
- Reduced asthma symptoms
- Fewer school absences
…And many more.
We’re going to be hosting a panel at the upcoming 2021 OSAP Virtual Conference about today’s market-ready air filtration products, and attendees will find a recurring theme with portable air purifiers: please, please, please focus on HEPA filtration and don’t fall for fancy gimmicks or dangerous, unproven technologies! The conference addresses the dental industry, but our approach remains true for school buildings, and frankly any other industry where people spend time inside normal sized rooms.
The science is clear: HEPA filter air purifiers are the proven technology for staying safe and staying healthy for the long term.