Safe air solutions for schools

Real-time airborne asbestos monitors and virus-killing air purifiers

Alert Technology Ltd believe people’s health should never at risk from unsafe air in the workplace. Alert’s innovative technologies offer two safe air solutions to help reduce risk in schools from airborne asbestos and poor indoor air quality (inc. airborne viruses like COVID-19).

Asbestos in Schools

An estimated 80% of UK schools contain asbestos, in both traditional and system-built schools (i.e. CLASP). HSE regulations require duty holders of non-domestic premises to identify the location and condition of asbestos and to manage the risk to prevent harm to anyone who works on the building or to building occupants. Annual surveys however fail to consider that school buildings endure with a higher chance of disturbing in-situ asbestos as pupils tend to disrupt and damage parts of the building through general daily activity. Historical teaching equipment, such as Bunsen burners and heat mats can also pose an asbestos risk.

The UK’s regulation on the ‘acceptable’ or ‘safe’ asbestos limit has also been called into question. The limit of airborne asbestos the UK permits school children to be exposed to is 10x more than for school children in Germany when in fact, there is no accepted ‘safe’ level of exposure to asbestos as a single particle of airborne asbestos could lead to a related disease.

Evidence indicates that persistent low-level environmental exposure to asbestos significantly increases health risks with teachers five times more likely than the general population to develop mesothelioma, a cancer which is directly related to asbestos exposure and terminal. An America study estimated for every teacher’s death, nine pupils will subsequently die from exposure at school. However, in the UK school support staff are not included in the DfE asbestos mortality statistics, and the number of British adults who have subsequently died because of their exposure to asbestos as a pupil in school is unknown.

Children spend approx. 1,000 hours in the classroom per year so the stark reality is that many are being exposed to airborne asbestos from a young age, and as a result have a higher probability than adults, of living long enough to develop mesothelioma which can take decades to develop.

An early warning device, like the ‘Asbestos ALERT Portable’ (PRO 1000), offers schools and local authorities for the very first time, a real-time solution for: 1) regular monitoring of areas with known asbestos containing materials (ACMs), 2) during routine maintenance of areas with ACMs (such as boiler rooms) and 3) to assess the environment in the case of accidental damage.

A portable, easy to use, early warning device will help reduce prolonged exposure and allows swift corrective action to be taken with the minimum amount of risk to pupils and staff.

Indoor Air Quality / COVID

Amongst those hardest over the past 2 years by the COVID pandemic schools have many challenges to keep staff and students safe whilst delivering a quality education. Indoor air quality has become a critical consideration with a heightened public awareness and sensitivity around the importance of ventilation and the processes in place to reassure staff, students, and parents that risk of exposure to airborne viruses and pollutants is limited.

Poor indoor air quality and pollution can exaggerate conditions such as asthma, eczema, hay fever, allergies, and impaired cognition in children and a growing body of evidence has highlighted the link between exposure to air pollution and the severity of coronavirus symptoms.

Poor ventilation is an unfortunate by-product in the continued drive towards energy efficient buildings. Increasingly airtight buildings put their occupants at risk from the health problems associated with poor indoor air quality which in some areas can be five to 10 times worse than quality of the outdoor air.

As UK law requires schools to protect pupils against risks to their health, schools need to have a policy on reducing risks to health from poor indoor air quality and airborne transmission. As one in eleven British children suffer from asthma (more than any other country in Europe) providing clean air must be a critical part of all schools’ deep cleaning and maintenance plans.

Opening windows to improve ventilation as many schools have been forced to do, is limited in practicality and benefit and the installation of mechanical ventilation not financially viable. Portable, affordable air purifiers like the PurerAir R150 that effectively circulate, filter and neutralize indoor air offer schools an effective and practical solution to improve ventilation, removing aerosols and airborne particulate and decreases the risk of transmission.

The PurerAir R150 from Alert Technology actively kills airborne viruses and bacteria with its UVC disinfection technology and filters out airborne pollutants like dust, pollen, VOCs, aerosols, mould to 99.995%.

To find out more on either the Asbestos ALERT Portable Real-Time Asbestos Monitor or the PurerAir R150 air purifier – please contact Alert Technology today!