Hospitals and Clinics
The improvement of air quality in hospitals, clinics and other health-care settings is a vital constituent of modern airborne hygiene procedures. It is also of importance with regard to occupational health and safety requirements in medical institutions. Air cleaning provides a healthier and more pleasant environment for patients, staff and visitors. It also makes economic sense due to its relevance as a preventative infection control measure.
Air filtration requirements vary by department
The air quality requirements in health-care settings vary from department to department and often even from room to room. Some areas will require high-efficiency filtration of airborne microorganisms to protect patients, staff and visitors (e.g. in operation suites, ICUs, TB isolation rooms), whereas other areas require the filtration of gaseous contaminants, chemicals and odors to provide a safer and more pleasant working environment (e.g., in laboratories, autopsy rooms, dental surgeries, pharmacies).
The control of airborne microorganisms (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungal spores) is of major importance in medical settings due to the fact that a number of diseases and infections can be transmitted by airborne pathogens.
Infections are a concern
Of particular concern are nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections. They can have serious consequences in terms of increased patient mortality, morbidity, length of hospital stay and overall costs. Immunocompromised patients (such as organ and bone-marrow transplant recipients, oncology and hematology patients) are especially at risk as their immune systems are more vulnerable to infectious pathogens, such as aspergillus. The "Independent Study" box on the right contains information on peer-reviewed studies of IQAir’s effectiveness as an infection-control measure.
IQAir also offers environmental control of chemical compounds and odors through filtration of ambient air, creation of pressure differentials (containment of chemical compounds and unpleasant odors through negative pressure areas) and through source capture (capture and filtration of chemical compounds and unpleasant odors at their source).
The dental workplace can expose dentists, staff, and patients to a wide variety of air pollutants during routine dental work. The IQAir Dental Series was specifically developed to provide a flexible, effective and affordable air cleaning solution for dental offices.
Dental offices have high contaminant levels
For dentists, staff, and patients, the execution of dental work and the use of various chemical compounds increase the risk of exposure to a range of potentially harmful airborne contaminants. Especially for dental staff, this exposure to potentially harmful air pollutants can be significantly higher than that of individuals in most indoor environments.
The use of high-speed drills and ultrasonic scaling equipment generates fine droplets that are light enough to stay airborne for hours. Bacteria and viruses, which are contained in these micro-droplets, are easily inhaled and constitute a potential source of infection.
Numerous studies show that dentists and their staff have higher than average levels of inorganic mercury (Hg) in their blood and urine. Mercury vapors can be released by the placement and the removal of amalgam fillings. They may also be released from office surfaces where they may have accumulated over years of usage.
Chemical disinfectants in a dental office are responsible for a generally unpleasant odor. Some disinfectants may also cause irritation and may have a sensitizing potential, especially for staff. In order to effectively clean the air in a dental office, an air purifier must be able to capture both particles (microorganisms, droplets, dust) and gaseous chemicals (mercury vapors, gaseous organic compounds).
Control at the source is important
To capture drill aerosols and other pollutants generated by dental work on patients, an air cleaning system with extraction at source should be used. For general air quality improvement, an air cleaning system should be used at central locations within the dental procedure area.
The air cleaning systems should contain high-efficiency particulate filters as well as substantial gas phase filters for mercury vapors, disinfectants, and volatile organic compounds.