EPA Adds More Indoor Air Quality Questions and Answers to Its COVID-19 FAQ Webpage

RAMP and partners working to reduce the burden of asthma have long recognized the importance of healthy indoor air quality. Whether we’re talking about improving air filtration and ventilation (through HVAC systems or portable air purifiers) or avoiding things that make the air quality worse (like environmental tobacco smoke or harmful cleaning products), we educate people about ways to reduce exposure to particulates and contaminants in the indoor air. But, as we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, are there ways to reduce exposure to viruses as we address indoor air quality?

The EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have guidance for states & territories, tribes, and local governments (including public health agencies), homeowners, business owners, schools, and others to address questions about risks, exposures and protection from COVID-19. They recently added some new questions about indoor air quality. Their full list of FAQs can be found here. Some examples of questions include:

  • Will an air cleaner or air purifier help protect me and my family from COVID-19 in my home?
    • When used properly, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants including viruses in a home or confined space. However, by itself, a portable air cleaner is not enough to protect people from COVID-19. When used along with other best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, operating an air cleaner can be part of a plan to protect yourself and your family.
  • Can running the HVAC system in my home help protect me from COVID-19?
    • By itself, running your HVAC system is not enough to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. However, when used along with other best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, operating the HVAC system can be part of a plan to protect yourself and your family, since running your HVAC system filters the air as it is circulated.
  • Where can professionals who manage school, office, and commercial buildings get information on ventilation and filtration to respond to COVID-19?
    • Professionals who operate school, office, and commercial buildings should consult the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) guidance for information on ventilation and filtration to help reduce risks from the virus that causes COVID-19. In general, increasing ventilation and filtration is usually appropriate; however, due to the complexity and diversity of buildings types, sizes, construction styles, HVAC system components, and other building features, a professional should interpret ASHRAE guidelines for their specific building and circumstances.
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