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J Occup Environ Hyg ; : 1-13, 2022 Dec 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2077490


A series of experiments in stationary and moving passenger railcars was conducted to measure the removal rates of particles in the size ranges of SARS-CoV-2 viral aerosols, and the air changes per hour provided by the existing and modified air handling systems. The effect of ventilation and air filtration systems on removal rates and their effects on estimated probability (i.e., risk) of infection was evaluated in a range of representative conditions: (1) for two different ratios of recirculated air (RA) to outdoor air (OA) (90:10 RA:OA and 67:33 RA:OA); (2) using minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) filters with standard (MERV-8) and increased (MERV-13) filtration ratings; and (3) in the presence and absence of a portable high-efficiency particulate-air (HEPA) room air purifier system operated at clean air delivery rate (CADR) of 150 and 550 cfm. The higher-efficiency MERV-13 filters significantly increased particle removal rates on average by 3.8 to 8.4 hr-1 across particle sizes ranging from 0.3 to 10 µm (p < 0.01) compared to MERV-8 filters. The different RA:OA ratios and the use of a portable HEPA air purifier system had little effect on particle removal rates. MERV-13 filters reduced the estimated probability of infection by 42% compared to the MERV-8 filter. The use of a HEPA-air purifier with a MERV-13 filter causes a 50% reduction in the estimated probability of infection. Upgrading the efficiency of HVAC filters from MERV-8 to MERV-13 in public transit vehicles is the most effective exposure control method resulting in a clear reduction in the removal rates of aerosol particles and the estimated probability of infection.

Environ Res ; 199: 111268, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225235


Due to the airborne nature of viral particles, adequate ventilation has been identified as one suitable mitigation strategy for reducing their transmission. While 'dilution of air by opening the window' has been prescribed by national and international health agencies, unintended detrimental consequences might result in many developing countries with high ambient air pollution. In the present study, PM2.5 exposure concentration and probability of mortality due to PM2.5 in different scenarios were assessed. A COVID airborne infection risk estimator was used to estimate the probability of infection by aerosol transmission in various commuter micro-environments: (a) air conditioned (AC) taxi (b) non-AC taxi (c) bus and (d) autorickshaw. The following were the estimated exposure concentrations in the four types of vehicles during pre-lockdown, during lockdown, and lost-lockdown: AC taxi cars (17.16 µg/m3, 4.52 µg/m3, and 25.09 µg/m3); non-AC taxis: (28.74 µg/m3, 7.56 µg/m3, 42.01 µg/m3); buses (21.79 µg/m3, 5.73 µg/m3, 31.86 µg/m3) autorickshaws (51.30 µg/m3, 3.50 µg/m3, 75 µg/m3). Post-lockdown, the probability of mortality due to PM2.5 was highest for autorickshaws (5.67 × 10-3), followed by non-AC taxis (2.07 × 10-3), buses (1.39 × 10-3), and AC taxis (1.02 × 10-3). This order of risk is inverted for the probability of infection by SARS-COV-2, with the highest for AC taxis (6.10 × 10-2), followed by non-AC taxis (1.71 × 10-2), buses (1.42 × 10-2), and the lowest risk in autorickshaws (1.99 × 10-4). The findings of the present study suggest that vehicles with higher ventilation or air changes per hour (ACH) should be preferred over other modes of transport during COVID-19 pandemic.

Air Pollutants , Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Air Pollutants/analysis , Air Pollution/analysis , Communicable Disease Control , Environmental Monitoring , Humans , India/epidemiology , Pandemics , Particulate Matter/analysis , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2