Ken Martinez Discussed How to Monitor Indoor Air Quality in Schools for Improved Health

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Ken Martinez, Chief Science Officer and Board founding member of IBEC, participated in the webinar “You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure: Monitoring IAQ in Schools for Improved Health” organized by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

The webinar’s purpose was to demonstrate how to implement cost-effective and comprehensive indoor air quality (IAQ) monitoring to improve the respiratory health of students and staff by reducing air contaminants and asthma triggers (e.g., viruses, allergens, mold, dust).

Ken Martinez discussed the hazards in the indoor environment (physical, chemical, and biological), along with the indoor air quality typical metrics (temperature and relative humidity, lighting, and ventilation parameters). 

He also emphasized the importance of targeted indoor air quality metrics (chemicals, microorganisms, and particulate) to educate the audience in calculating infection risk. He shared a simple formula to assess infection risk.

Ken clearly illustrated how indoor air quality affects students and staff, showing examples of how bad indoor air quality can correlate to asthma, concentration levels, attendance, and test scores. 

The discussion included the difference between indoor air quality metrics versus biosurveillance, where indoor air quality metrics provide surrogate indicators of air quality along with comfort indicators and biosurveillance data provides direct indicators of disease incidence or the potential of disease in humans, animals, and plants.

Ken’s message concluded that it all comes down to risk assessment and mitigation and he emphasized a holistic strategy to mitigate risk needs to include: 

  • Metrics (exposure limit guidelines). 
  • Medical interventions. 
  • Environmental mitigation strategies. 
  • Social behavior. 

Lastly, he discussed the 4 Ds for risk assessment (duration, density, dilution & distance) and invited all the guests to Commit To C.A.R.E

Watch the webinar recording and learn how to replicate best practices used by Boston Public Schools to monitor indoor air quality and assess ventilation and HVAC systems to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools and provide healthier indoor air.

If you are interested in learning and collaborating to ensure healthier indoor air quality, contact the Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium today (IBEC). 

To do your part in making your building, organization, and community healthier and safer from COVID-19, Commit to C.A.R.E. now.

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