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1.
Gac Sanit ; 36(2): 160-165, 2022.
Article in Spanish | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1882014

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To review the scientific epidemiologic evidence on the role of hospitality venues in the incidence or mortality from COVID-19. METHOD: We included studies conducted in any population, describing either the impact of the closure or reopening of hospitality venues, or exposure to these venues, on the incidence or mortality from COVID-19. We used a snowball sampling approach with backward and forward citation search along with co-citations. RESULTS: We found 20 articles examining the role of hospitality venues in the epidemiology of COVID-19. Modeling studies showed that interventions reducing social contacts in indoor venues can reduce COVID-19 transmission. Studies using statistical models showed similar results, including that the closure of hospitality venues is amongst the most effective measures in reducing incidence or mortality. Case studies highlighted the role of hospitality venues in generating super-spreading events, along with the importance of airflow and ventilation inside these venues. CONCLUSIONS: We found consistent results across studies showing that the closure of hospitality venues is amongst the most effective measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19. We also found support for measures limiting capacity and improving ventilation to consider during the re-opening of these venues.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Tobacco Smoke Pollution , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Restaurants
2.
Food Environ Virol ; 14(2): 190-198, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1877973

ABSTRACT

Side by side air sampling was conducted using a PTFE filter membrane as dry sampler and an impinger containing a suitable culture medium as a wet sampler. Most of the samples were collected from two hospitals and few air samples were collected from private houses of non-hospitalized confirmed COVID-19 patients. The collected air samples were analyzed using RT-PCR. The results indicated that all air samples collected from the hospitals were PCR negative for SARS-CoV-2. While two of four air samples collected from the house of non-hospitalized patients were PCR positive. In this study, most of the hospitalized patients had oxygen mask and face mask, and hence this may be a reason for our negative results regarding the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in indoor air of the hospitals, while non-hospitalized patients did not wear oxygen and protective face masks in their houses. Moreover, a very high concentration of particles in the size range of droplet nuclei (< 5 µm) was identified compared to particles in the size range of respiratory droplets (> 5-10 µm) in the areas where patients were hospitalized. It can be concluded that using face mask by patients can prevent the release of viruses into the indoor air, even in hospitals with a high density of patients.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Hospitals , Humans , Oxygen , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(10)2022 05 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875636

ABSTRACT

Indoor air pollution is injurious to human health, even worse than outdoor air pollution. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence using large samples in developing countries regarding whether indoor air purification can improve human health by reducing indoor air pollutants. Using the data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey in 2015, this study analyzes the relationship between indoor air purification and residents' self-rated health. We apply the generalized ordered logit model and find that indoor air purification has a significantly positive effect on residents' self-rated health. This positive effect is limited to improving the probability of residents' health level being rated "good", and there is no significant movement between the two levels of "bad" and "fair". The results also show that, as an important source of indoor air pollutants, solid fuels used in cooking significantly reduced residents' self-rated health level. Additional results show the heterogeneity of the relationship between indoor air purification and resident health among groups with different characteristics. This study provides empirical evidence for further optimizing the indoor air environment.


Subject(s)
Air Pollutants , Air Pollution, Indoor , Air Pollution , Air Pollutants/analysis , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , China , Humans , Nutrition Surveys
4.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(11)2022 May 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869604

ABSTRACT

The global acceptance of the SARS-CoV-2 airborne transmission led to prevention measures based on quality control and air renewal. Among them, carbon dioxide (CO2) measurement has positioned itself as a cost-efficiency, reliable, and straightforward method to assess indoor air renewal indirectly. Through the control of CO2, it is possible to implement and validate the effectiveness of prevention measures to reduce the risk of contagion of respiratory diseases by aerosols. Thanks to the method scalability, CO2 measurement has become the gold standard for diagnosing air quality in shared spaces. Even though collective transport is considered one of the environments with the highest rate of COVID-19 propagation, little research has been done where the air inside vehicles is analyzed. This work explores the generation and accumulation of metabolic CO2 in a tramway (Zaragoza, Spain) operation. Importantly, we propose to use the indicator ppm/person as a basis for comparing environments under different conditions. Our study concludes with an experimental evaluation of the benefit of modifying some parameters of the Heating-Ventilation-Air conditioning (HVAC) system. The study of the particle retention efficiency of the implemented filters shows a poor air cleaning performance that, at present, can be counteracted by opening windows. Seeking a post-pandemic scenario, it will be crucial to seek strategies to improve air quality in public transport to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Aerosols , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , COVID-19/prevention & control , Carbon Dioxide , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Ventilation
5.
Indoor Air ; 32(5): e13036, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1868660

ABSTRACT

The frequency of surface disinfectant use has increased over the last several years in public settings such as schools, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although these products are important for infection control and prevention, their increased use may intensify the exposure to both persons applying the disinfection product as well as bystanders. Safety assessments have demonstrated that these products, when used as intended, are considered safe for use and effective; however, point-of-contact effects (such as respiratory or dermal irritation) may still occur. Additionally, relative exposures may vary significantly due to the wide variation in disinfectant formulation and application methods. Quantitative estimations of exposures to two commonly used active ingredients, quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) and ethanol, are not well characterized during product use and application scenarios. To assess the potential for health risks attributable to increased use in classroom settings, as well as to quantitatively evaluate the potential exposure to both ethanol and QACs, student and adult bystander surface and air measurements were collected in a K-8 school setting in Ohio, United States, over a three-day period. Direct-reading instruments were utilized to collect real-time air samples that characterized mass fraction concentrations following the use of the QAC- and ethanol-based disinfectants. Furthermore, surface and air sampling of microbial species were conducted to establish the overall bioburden and effectiveness of each disinfectant to inform the comparative risk and health effect impacts from the tested products use scenario. Both tested products were approximately equally effective at reducing bioburdens on desk surfaces. In some classrooms, concentrations of QAC congeners were significantly increased on desk surfaces following the application of the disinfectant spray; however, the magnitude of the change in concentration was small. Ethanol was not measured on surfaces due to its volatility. Airborne concentrations increased immediately following spray of each disinfectant product but rapidly returned to baseline. Each of the QAC congeners listed in the product safety data sheets were detected and measurable on desk surfaces; however, air concentrations were generally below the limit of detection. The 15-min time-weighted averages (TWAs) of both QACs and ethanol in the air were below respective health effects benchmarks, and therefore, the negative impact on health outcomes is considered to be minimal from short-term, repeated use of ethanol- or QAC-based spray products in a school setting when the products are used as directed.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Disinfectants , Adult , Ethanol , Humans , Pandemics , Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(10)2022 05 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1862777

ABSTRACT

In addition to outdoor atmospheric contamination, indoor exposure to pollutants is a prime contributor to the overall human exposure, and may condition the expressiveness and severity of respiratory, cardiovascular, and allergic diseases. This situation has worsened due to COVID-19, as people have spent more time indoors to comply with social isolation and mandatory telework. The primary purpose of this study was to assess and compare indoor air quality (IAQ) in a significant sample of dwellings of workers from a Higher Education Institution (HEI) in Portugal who were teleworking and their usual workplace. The levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde, particles with equivalent diameters of less than 10 µm, 5 µm, 2.5 µm, 1 µm, 0.5 µm, and 0.3 µm, and ultrafine particles, as well as the level of thermal comfort, were measured at both of the sites assessed. It was found that most of the houses studied, as well as the HEI, had good IAQ, although there were places where the concentrations of some pollutants were above the legal standards. On the other hand, a link was identified between the IAQ and the symptoms and diseases observed in the workers who participated in the study. These results offer the opportunity to make corrective interventions, thereby controlling the sources of pollutants and promoting better ventilation in order to reduce the risk for workers.


Subject(s)
Air Pollutants , Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Air Pollutants/analysis , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Teleworking
7.
Indoor Air ; 32(5): e13040, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1861363

ABSTRACT

Post-epidemic protocols have been implemented in public buildings to keep indoor environments safe. However, indoor environmental conditions are affected by this decision, which also affect the occupants of buildings. This fact has major implications in educational buildings, where the satisfaction and learning performance of students may also be affected. This study investigates the impact of post-epidemic protocols on indoor environmental conditions in higher education buildings of one Portuguese and one Spanish university. A sensor monitoring campaign combined with a simultaneous questionnaire was conducted during the reopening of the educational buildings. Results showed that although renewal air protocols were effective and the mean CO2 concentration levels remained low (742 ppm and 519 ppm in Portugal and Spain universities, respectively), students were dissatisfied with the current indoor environmental conditions. Significant differences were also found between the responses of Portuguese and Spanish students. Indeed, Spanish students showed warmer preferences (thermal neutrality = 23.3℃) than Portuguese students (thermal neutrality = 20.7℃). In terms of involved indoor factors, the obtained data showed significant correlations (p < 0.001) between acoustic factors and overall satisfaction in the Portuguese students (ρ = 0.540) and between thermal factors and overall satisfaction in the Spanish students (ρ = 0.522). Therefore, indoor environmental conditions should be improved by keeping spaces safe while minimizing the impact of post-epidemic protocols on student learning performance.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , Humans , Portugal , Respiration , Spain , Temperature
8.
Indoor Air ; 32(5): e13035, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1861362

ABSTRACT

The worldwide pandemic of SARS-CoV-2 which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has resulted in first-time responses in recent history as most of affected countries are confining residents to their homes. When sick people are detected, home quarantine is usually recommended because of the lack of available hospital rooms for first-stage symptoms that do not require constant medical monitoring. In this situation, one can thus wonder about the transmission of the disease to other household members. In this paper, we numerically investigate the transport of the aerosol generated by an infected person quarantined to his bedroom to the other rooms in a typical French detached house by performing TRNSYS-CONTAM simulations. The intent here is to assess the exposure concentration to the virus of the other household members when simple strategies are employed to reduce the risk of airborne transmission. Due to the uncertainty regarding the evaluation of different parameters such as the emission of contaminated droplets and the infectivity of the occupants, critical cases have been considered in this study. The main results show that, even if remediation actions lower the exposure of other occupants, the risk of contamination remains high even if the contagious person is quarantined to its bedroom.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2
9.
PLoS One ; 17(4): e0266487, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1855007

ABSTRACT

Respiratory viruses are capable of transmitting via an aerosol route. Emerging evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19 can be spread through airborne transmission, particularly in indoor environments with poor ventilation. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can play a role in mitigating airborne virus transmission. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), a feature that can be incorporated into HVAC systems, can be used to impede the ability of viruses to replicate and infect a host. We conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature examining the effectiveness of HVAC design features in reducing virus transmission-here we report results for ultraviolet (UV) radiation. We followed international standards for conducting systematic reviews and developed an a priori protocol. We conducted a comprehensive search to January 2021 of published and grey literature using Ovid MEDLINE, Compendex, and Web of Science Core. Two reviewers were involved in study selection, data extraction, and risk of bias assessments. We presented study characteristics and results in evidence tables, and synthesized results across studies narratively. We identified 32 relevant studies published between 1936 and 2020. Research demonstrates that: viruses and bacteriophages are inactivated by UV radiation; increasing UV dose is associated with decreasing survival fraction of viruses and bacteriophages; increasing relative humidity is associated with decreasing susceptibility to UV radiation; UV dose and corresponding survival fraction are affected by airflow pattern, air changes per hour, and UV device location; and UV radiation is associated with decreased transmission in both animal and human studies. While UV radiation has been shown to be effective in inactivating viruses and reducing disease transmission, practical implementation of UVGI in HVAC systems needs to consider airflow patterns, air changes per hour, and UV device location. The majority of the scientific literature is comprised of experimental, laboratory-based studies. Further, a variety of viruses have been examined; however, there are few studies of coronaviruses and none to date of SARS-CoV-2. Future field studies of UVGI systems could address an existing research gap and provide important information on system performance in real-world situations, particularly in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. This comprehensive synthesis of the scientific evidence examining the impact of UV radiation on virus transmission can be used to guide implementation of systems to mitigate airborne spread and identify priorities for future research. Trial registration PROSPERO 2020 CRD42020193968.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Air Conditioning , Heating , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Ultraviolet Rays , Ventilation
10.
Indoor Air ; 32(4): e13032, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1816565

ABSTRACT

Airborne transmission of infectious diseases through air travel has become a major concern, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The flying public and crew members have long demanded better air quality and thermal comfort in commercial airliner cabins. This paper reviewed studies related to the airliner cabin air environment that have been published in scientific journals since 2000, to understand the state-of-the-art in cabin air environment design and the efforts made to improve this environment. In this critical review, this paper discusses the challenges and opportunities in studying the cabin air environment. The literature review concluded that current environmental control systems for airliner cabins have done little to stop the airborne transmission of infectious diseases. There were no reports of significant air quality problems in cabins, although passengers and crew members have complained of some health-related issues. The air temperature in cabins needs to be better controlled, and therefore, better thermal comfort models for airliners should be developed. Low humidity is a major complaint from passengers and crew members. Gaspers are used by passengers to adjust thermal comfort, but they do not improve air quality. Various personalized and displacement ventilation systems have been developed to improve air quality and thermal comfort. Air cleaning technologies need to be further developed. Good tools are available for designing a better cabin air environment.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Humans , Pandemics
11.
Sci Total Environ ; 836: 155611, 2022 Aug 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1815158

ABSTRACT

This study monitors the presence of 88 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic compounds (semi-VOCs) at the gas phase of seven indoor settings in a school in the city of Tarragona, Spain, and five outdoor locations around the city. The VOCs and semi-VOCs monitored were solvents (∑Solvents), aldehydes (∑Aldehydes), emerging organic compounds (∑EOCs), and other VOCs and semi-VOCs (∑Others). Passive sampling campaigns were performed using Carbopack X tubes followed by thermal desorption coupled to gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS). Overall, 70 of the target compounds included in the method were determined in the indoor air samples analysed, and 42 VOCs and semi-VOCs in the outdoor air samples. Our results showed that solvents were ubiquitous throughout the school at concentrations ranging from 272 µg m-3 to 423 µg m-3 and representing 68%-83% of total target compounds (∑Total). The values of ∑Total in 2021 were three times as high as those observed at the same indoor settings in 2019, with solvents experiencing the greatest increase. A plausible explanation for these observations is the implementation of anti-COVID-19 measures in the indoor settings, such as the intensification of cleaning activities and the use of hydroalcoholic gels as personal hygiene. The ∑Total values observed in the indoor settings evaluated were twenty times higher than those found outdoors. ∑Solvents were the most representative compounds found indoors (74% of the ∑Total). The concentrations of VOCs and semi-VOCs observed in the outdoors were strictly related to combustion processes from automobile traffic and industrial activities, with ∑Others contributing 58%, ∑Solvents 31%, and ∑Aldehydes 11% of the ∑Total. EOCs, on the other hand, were not detected in any outdoor sample.


Subject(s)
Air Pollutants , Air Pollution, Indoor , Air Pollution , Volatile Organic Compounds , Air Pollutants/analysis , Air Pollution/analysis , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , Aldehydes/analysis , Environmental Monitoring/methods , Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry , Solvents/analysis , Volatile Organic Compounds/analysis
13.
Indoor Air ; 32(4): e13029, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1794658

ABSTRACT

Individuals with COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization are instructed to self-isolate in their residences. Due to high secondary infection rates in household members, there is a need to understand airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within residences. We report the first naturalistic intervention study suggesting a reduction of such transmission risk using portable air cleaners (PACs) with HEPA filters. Seventeen individuals with newly diagnosed COVID-19 infection completed this single-blind, crossover, randomized study. Total and size-fractionated aerosol samples were collected simultaneously in the self-isolation room with the PAC (primary) and another room (secondary) for two consecutive 24-h periods, one period with HEPA filtration and the other with the filter removed (sham). Seven out of sixteen (44%) air samples in primary rooms were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA during the sham period. With the PAC operated at its lowest setting (clean air delivery rate [CADR] = 263 cfm) to minimize noise, positive aerosol samples decreased to four out of sixteen residences (25%; p = 0.229). A slight decrease in positive aerosol samples was also observed in the secondary room. As the world confronts both new variants and limited vaccination rates, our study supports this practical intervention to reduce the presence of viral aerosols in a real-world setting.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Aerosols , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , Humans , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Single-Blind Method
14.
Sci Total Environ ; 833: 155173, 2022 Aug 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783747

ABSTRACT

Proper air distribution is crucial for airborne infection risk control of infectious respiratory diseases like COVID-19. Existing studies evaluate and compare the performances of different air distributions for airborne infection risk control, but the mechanisms of air distribution for airborne infection risk control remain unclear. This study investigates the mechanisms of air distribution for both overall and local airborne infection risk controls. The experimentally validated CFD models simulate the contaminant concentration fields in a hospital ward based on which the airborne infection risks of COVID-19 are evaluated with the dilution-based expansion of the Wells-Riley model. Different air distributions, i.e., stratum ventilation, displacement ventilation, and mixing ventilation, with various supply airflow rates are tested. The results show that the variations of the overall and local airborne infection risks under different air distributions and different supply airflow rates are complicated and non-linear. The contaminant removal and the contaminant dispersion are proposed as the mechanisms for the overall and local airborne infection risk controls, respectively, regardless of airflow distributions and supply airflow rates. A large contaminant removal ability benefits the overall airborne infection risk control, with the coefficient of determination of 0.96 between the contaminant removal index and the reciprocal of the overall airborne infection risk. A large contaminant dispersion ability benefits the local airborne infection risk control, with the coefficient of determination of 0.99 between the contaminant dispersion index and the local airborne infection risk.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Humans , Ventilation/methods
15.
Indoor Air ; 32(3): e13023, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764951

ABSTRACT

Transmission mechanisms for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are incompletely understood. In particular, aerosol transmission remains unclear, with viral detection in air and demonstration of its infection potential being actively investigated. To this end, we employed a novel electrostatic collector to sample air from rooms occupied by COVID-19 patients in a major Swedish hospital. Electrostatic air sampling in conjunction with extraction-free, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (hid-RT-PCR) enabled detection of SARS-CoV-2 in air from patient rooms (9/22; 41%) and adjoining anterooms (10/22; 45%). Detection with hid-RT-PCR was concomitant with viral RNA presence on the surface of exhaust ventilation channels in patients and anterooms more than 2 m from the COVID-19 patient. Importantly, it was possible to detect active SARS-CoV-2 particles from room air, with a total of 496 plaque-forming units (PFUs) being isolated, establishing the presence of infectious, airborne SARS-CoV-2 in rooms occupied by COVID-19 patients. Our results support circulation of SARS-CoV-2 via aerosols and urge the revision of existing infection control frameworks to include airborne transmission.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Hospitals , Humans , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2
16.
Indoor Air ; 32(3): e13019, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764950

ABSTRACT

As COVID-19 continues to spread, infection risk on public transport is concerning. Air exchange rates (ACH) and advection-diffusion of CO2 and particles were determined in a route bus to evaluate the infection risk. ACH increased with bus speed whether windows were open or closed, and ACH were greater when more windows were open. With two open windows, ACH was greater when a front and rear window were open than when two rear windows were open. With both front and rear ventilation fans set to exhaust, ACH was more than double that when both were set to supply. With air conditioning (AC) off, CO2 and particles spread proportionally at the same rate from a source, whereas with the AC on, the spread rate of particles was about half that of CO2 , because particles might be trapped by a prefilter on the AC unit. Infection risk can be reduced by equipping AC unit with an appropriate filter. Calculations with a modified Wells-Riley equation showed that average infection risk was reduced by 92% in the moving bus with windows open comparing to with windows closed. When the bus was moving with windows closed, exhaust fan operation reduced the average risk by 35%.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Aerosols , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , Carbon Dioxide , Humans , Ventilation
17.
J Occup Environ Hyg ; 19(5): 327-334, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764436

ABSTRACT

A company COVID-19 Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Guideline was implemented globally, as part of a larger control measure toolset, to minimize the potential for SARS-CoV-2 aerosol transmission. The COVID-19 Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Guideline informed and provided the process to optimize existing ventilation systems, set occupancy duration limits, and set clearance periods for a given space. Aerosol transmission modeling was used extensively to determine space limitations to reduce the potential for aerosol transmission in various manufacturing, lab, warehouse, aircraft, and administrative workspaces. This paper focuses on the modeling completed for administrative spaces (e.g., offices, conference rooms, restrooms, elevators) due to their lower ventilation rates, higher occupant densities, and greater vocalization levels. A detailed description of how the Guideline was implemented, with examples showing the evaluation and determinations made for specific spaces, is provided. World-wide implementation of this Guideline, as one of the layers of protection, was a key component in the overall strategy to reduce aerosol transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Aerosols , Air Pollution, Indoor/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Ventilation
18.
Ann Glob Health ; 88(1): 3, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1761049

ABSTRACT

Background: Household air pollution (HAP) is associated with adverse human health impacts. During COVID-19 Lockdown Levels 5 and 4 (the most stringent levels), South Africans remained at home, potentially increasing their exposure to HAP. Objectives: To investigate changes in fuel use behaviours/patterns of use affecting HAP exposure and associated HAP-related respiratory health outcomes during COVID-19 Lockdown Levels 5 and 4. Methods: This was a cross-sectional online and telephonic survey of participants from an existing database. Logistic regression and McNemar's test were used to analyse household-level data. Results: Among 2 505 participants, while electricity was the main energy source for cooking and heating the month before and during Lockdown Levels 5 and 4, some households used less electricity during Lockdown Levels 5 and 4 or switched to "dirty fuels." One third of participants reported presence of environmental tobacco smoke in the home, a source of HAP associated with respiratory illnesses. Prevalence of HAP-related respiratory health outcomes were <10% (except dry cough). Majority of households reported cooking more, cleaning more and spending more time indoors during Lockdown Levels 5 and 4 - potentially exposed to HAP. Conclusion: Should South Africa return to Lockdown Levels 5 or 4, awareness raising about the risks associated with HAP as well as messaging information for prevention of exposure to HAP, including environmental tobacco smoke, and associated adverse health impacts will be necessary.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Air Pollution/analysis , Air Pollution/statistics & numerical data , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , Air Pollution, Indoor/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Cooking , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology
19.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(6)2022 03 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1760588

ABSTRACT

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is a major target in developed countries toward decreasing their energy consumption and CO2 emissions. To meet this target, a large number of countries have established energy codes that require buildings to be airtight. While such a retrofitting approach has improved health outcomes in areas with heavy traffic, it has worsened the health outcomes in Nordic countries and increased the risk of lung cancer in areas with high levels of radon emissions. This review highlights the importance of adapting the characteristics of energy-efficient residential buildings to the location, age, and health of inhabitants to guarantee healthy indoor pollutant levels. The implementation of mechanical ventilation in new energy-efficient buildings has solved some of these problems; however, for others, a decrease in the level of outdoor pollutants was still required in order to achieve a good indoor air quality. A good balance between the air exchange rate and the air humidity level (adapted to the location) is key to ensuring that exposure to the various pollutants that accumulate inside energy-efficient buildings is low enough to avoid affecting inhabitants' health. Evidence of the protective effect of mechanical ventilation should be sought in dwellings where natural ventilation allows pollutants to accumulate to threatening levels. More studies should be carried out in African and Asian countries, which, due to their rapid urbanization, use massive volumes of unproven/unrated building materials for fast-track construction, which are frequent sources of formaldehyde and VOC emissions.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , Environmental Pollutants , Radon , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , Housing , Radon/analysis , Respiration, Artificial , Ventilation
20.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(6)2022 03 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1760587

ABSTRACT

Indoor air quality in hospital operating rooms is of great concern for the prevention of surgical site infections (SSI). A wide range of relevant medical and engineering literature has shown that the reduction in air contamination can be achieved by introducing a more efficient set of controls of HVAC systems and exploiting alarms and monitoring systems that allow having a clear report of the internal air status level. In this paper, an operating room air quality monitoring system based on a fuzzy decision support system has been proposed in order to help hospital staff responsible to guarantee a safe environment. The goal of the work is to reduce the airborne contamination in order to optimize the surgical environment, thus preventing the occurrence of SSI and reducing the related mortality rate. The advantage of FIS is that the evaluation of the air quality is based on easy-to-find input data established on the best combination of parameters and level of alert. Compared to other literature works, the proposed approach based on the FIS has been designed to take into account also the movement of clinicians in the operating room in order to monitor unauthorized paths. The test of the proposed strategy has been executed by exploiting data collected by ad-hoc sensors placed inside a real operating block during the experimental activities of the "Bacterial Infections Post Surgery" Project (BIPS). Results show that the system is capable to return risk values with extreme precision.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , Operating Rooms , Air Conditioning , Air Microbiology , Air Pollution, Indoor/analysis , Air Pollution, Indoor/prevention & control , Humans , Surgical Wound Infection/prevention & control
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