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As the cold winter months’ approach in many regions, many building occupants (and the facility management teams in their buildings) are unaware that their dry indoor environments and low indoor air humidity levels are promoting the spread of pathogens including flu and cold viruses.

As facility management teams in office buildings and other facility types put their indoor heating systems into high gear to combat the cold temperatures outdoors, the factor of air humidity levels is often overlooked. However, indoor air humidity levels can have a dramatic effect on the movement and lifespan of bacteria and cold and flu viruses. Making matters worse, dry indoor environments cause the mucous membranes in the nose and the lower respiratory system to dry out, impeding the body’s natural immune response against airborne bacteria and viruses.

Nortec, a manufacturer of commercial and industrial humidification systems, recently shared insights on this scenario. “The optimal relative air humidity levels for indoor spaces should be 40% to 60%. If the relative humidity drops below 40%, you are creating the ideal environment for the spread of harmful viruses,” said Duncan Curd, GM of Nortec. “Unfortunately, many public and private spaces such as office buildings, schools, hospitals, and homes have a relative humidity as low as 20% over the winter months, due to dryness caused by traditional commercial and residential heating systems.” Continue reading.

Respiratory Protection for Workers

Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) releases a preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety and health violations for the fiscal year. The list is compiled from thousands of workplace inspections conducted by federal OSHA staff.

Year after year, one of the top 10 cited violations involves respiratory protection. OSHA reports that an estimated 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the United States. Respirators protect workers against insufficient oxygen environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays. These hazards may cause cancer, lung impairment, diseases or death.

OSHA states that respirators protect the user in two basic ways. The first is by the removal of contaminants from the air. Respirators of this type include particulate respirators, which filter out airborne particles, and air-purifying respirators with cartridges/canisters which filter out chemicals and gases. Other respirators protect by supplying clean respirable air from another source. Respirators that fall into this category include airline respirators, which use compressed air from a remote source, and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which include their own air supply.

About ABC Cleaning, Inc. of Orlando, FL

Serving Central Florida since 1992, ABC Cleaning, Inc. has been the acknowledged leader in air duct cleaning, chimney cleaning and dryer vent cleaning. We’re NADCA certified, we consistently invest in and have the most modern equipment and utilize the latest technology available with the best-trained service technicians in all of Orlando. If you need help deciding whether to replace or repair faulty ducts, please contact us at ABC. We provide quality HVAC service throughout Orlando and the surrounding communities. Please give us a call today at (407) 381-2120. We are here to help!

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