Checklist illustration

During the worst-in-a-century global pandemic, cleaning and disinfecting are getting a lot of attention — and rightfully so. While they are effective measures in stopping the spread of COVID-19, more can be done.

Improving indoor air quality (IAQ) is another critical component of a quality janitorial program. In July, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that poor ventilation can increase the spread of COVID-19. Poor IAQ has also been linked to headaches, breathing difficulty, fatigue, pneumonia, asthma, lung cancer and even heart disease.

"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that Americans spend 90 percent of our life indoors, where pollutant concentrations can be up to five times higher than outside," says Deon Glaser, director of education and development at Green Seal, Washington, D.C. "This is one reason transmission of COVID-19 is of higher concern in enclosed spaces, where it's not able to disperse as quickly."

What's more, trying to kill COVID-19 by using more disinfectants is creating a secondary hazard for IAQ. "We are applying disinfectants more regularly, understandably, and that creates unintended indoor air quality concerns when building occupants are inhaling those harsh chemicals," says Shari Solomon, president of CleanHealth Environmental LLC, Silver Spring, Maryland.

BSCs that help create healthier IAQ for their clients can further reduce COVID-19 cases, decrease overall illness and absenteeism, and improve worker productivity. In short, they can save their clients stress and money. But how? One of the most powerful tools for improving IAQ is ventilation, and that typically falls outside of a building service contractor's (BSC's) control. Even so, there are many other ways cleaning contractors can positively affect IAQ during — and long after — the pandemic.

next page of this article:
Chemicals, Training And Equipment Strategies For IAQ