We previously talked about why pathogen protection in the workplace is critical and how to support the health and wellness of employees and customers with new policies and air quality initiatives. This blog will review why air purifiers play a key role in workplace pathogen protection and how to identify air purifiers that provide pathogen protection (because not all of them do).
Pathogens like SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can float and linger in the air in poorly ventilated indoor spaces. Without the right ventilation, these floating pathogens can spread farther than six feet from their source, putting even those in socially distanced spaces at risk. This is why the CDC recommends improving building ventilation systems in response to the pandemic. When you ventilate, you turn over the air and reduce the amount of floating particles. The challenge is that even with proper ventilation, there are still pathogens in the air, just fewer of them. That’s why it’s best to supplement ventilation with an air purifier that can continuously kill viruses in the air and on surfaces in occupied spaces.
Different air purifiers, filters and cleansers sanitize the air using different types of technology, such as: HEPA filters, photocatalytic oxidation, ionization, UV, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyls. But here’s the catch: not all of them offer reliable pathogen protection. For example, air filters like HEPA filters focus on removing particles like dust from the air. While air filters may be able to trap some pathogens, it really depends on the size of the pathogen and whether or not they slip through the filter. Air cleaners on the other hand are often judged by a CADR (clean air delivery rate) number or by the number of air exchanges per hour; however, these CADR cleaning stats focus on particles like dust or pollen that are much larger than the pathogens that may be lurking in the air.
When researching air purifiers for pathogen protection, seek information about the mechanism of action to understand if the device is trapping or actually killing pathogens and if there is proof (like scientific studies) of the efficacy and safety of the device. Data should also be available to show which specific pathogens the air purification system is proven to kill. You should look for large test chambers – doing tests in 10 to 100 cubic feet are not real world conditions. For example, Pyure recently completed a scientific study with an independent lab that proves that Pyure Technology rapidly and progressively kills SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) in air and on surfaces in a 1,280 cubic foot chamber
In addition, Pyure offers scientific evidence to support claims about airborne and surface destruction of many viruses including influenza, gram positive, gram negative and antibiotic resistant bacteria, and black mold. The types of pathogens the device is proven to kill are particularly important in healthcare settings and even food and agriculture processing. Safety data should also be examined to make sure the technology is safe for people to be around. If you can only run it after hours, or in empty rooms, is it really protecting your team?
While an air purifier won’t protect you if you come into close contact with an infected person (or if they cough on you), the right air purifier with proven pathogen protection can mitigate the risks of transmitting the virus in a workplace where team members are social distancing.