Chris Brown, Head of Public Sector at hygiene services provider phs Group, suggests ways that public venues, and in particular the washrooms, can be kept sweet smelling and germ free.
Every public venue has a cleaning regime as standard practice – in fact, it’s a legal requirement. But while the hygiene of your facility is routinely managed, there’s another aspect that is all too often overlooked, despite its potential for carrying germs and allergens.
This is the quality of the air, to which every building user is exposed. Every time a building occupant takes a breath, they are breathing in a mix of invisible pollutants, contaminants, allergens, germs and odours. And the more people in the space, the more the cocktail of contaminants expands. Consider how quickly germs can spread within a school, a hospital or any other public space. The impact of indoor air on health and wellbeing is well evidenced. When you consider that a single cubic metre of air contains up to 15,000 flu viruses, you can understand why. In addition, just 437 grains of dust contain nearly 42,000 living dust mites, each expelling 20 faecal pellets every day into the air you breathe. It’s not a pleasant thought.
Indoor air pollution is a hot topic. While air pollutants are often generated outdoors, their concentration levels are magnified by up to five times indoors. A recent school study revealed children were exposed to higher levels of damaging air pollution inside classrooms than outside, putting them at risk of lifelong health problems. The Mayor of London has recently announced a pilot scheme introducing air purifiers into city schools, which physically clean the air and reduce children’s exposure to pollutants.
While this study is specific to schools, the effect is the same within any building. And it isn’t unique to London – a Friends of the Earth report found almost 2,000 locations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland with levels of air pollution that exceed safety limits (3).
With this in mind, it becomes intuitive for organisations to seriously consider their indoor air quality and take steps to improve it. The statistics suggest that measures such as air cleaning aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity.
Air purifiers physically clean the air within a building, enabling occupants to breathe air that is cleaner and healthier, protecting them from the risk of pollution and reducing exposure to germs such as colds and flu as well as allergens.
Any public building owner has a responsibility for the health and safety of its users. We’ve seen first-hand the rise in demand for air cleaning across all sectors, from schools, hospitals, GP surgeries and dentists to care homes, offices and leisure centres. All seek to improve air quality to protect the health and wellbeing of their building users. When you weigh up the risks and review the effectiveness of air cleaning, we believe that air purifiers will become the new must-have for any public building.