In recent months, due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have become familiar with new habits to protect our health and the health of those around us. We have reduced contact, worn masks and added a metre and a half of distance between us and others.
However, these small everyday gestures are not enough when we have to spend hours inside an enclosed space. For example, at work, schools, public transport, supermarkets, hospitals or clinics, offices, retail premises, etc.
A facemask is not a sufficient barrier to prevent the spread of the virus through person-to-person contact indoors, according to recent research on coronavirus transmission. Therefore, it is necessary to take extra security measures for those contacts that cannot be avoided and cannot be made outdoors.
Many experts recommend maintaining good indoor ventilation to avoid contagion. However, this option is not always feasible, so it is essential to consider the possibility of an alternative route to protect people, especially in the workplace or while on duty.
Fortunately, different technologies are now available that can help capture particles containing viruses and bacteria and reduce the transmission of Covid-19 and other diseases.
Which air purification and surface disinfection options are available?
Photocatalysis is a process by which pollutants such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and volatile compounds (VOCs) are broken down, helping to improve air quality in a way that is not harmful to people, animals or plants.
At Grupo Cartés we have Aldair Industrial Filtration brand photocatalytic purifiers that synergistically combine the germicidal action of UV-C ultraviolet light with the enhancing action of a photocatalytic compound, causing a heterogeneous photocatalysis inside the purifier, ensuring the elimination of up to 99.9% of microorganisms in the air, as well as bad odours.
It should also be noted that these purifiers do not use filters, so they do not require maintenance.
This air purification system is suitable for professional environments such as hotels, residences, clinics, shops, lifts, airports, train and bus stations, offices, schools, factories, private homes, doctor's surgeries, gyms and sports facilities, etc. Places where people spend a lot of time with the assurance that their health cannot be affected.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter purification systems retain particles of a certain size and with a certain efficiency, allowing clean air to pass through. At absolute levels, HEPA filters H13 or higher capture viruses, bacteria and fungi with an efficiency of >99.95%.
This filtration system should be supervised by a professional, as it can be inefficient or generate high noise if proper sealing and correct sizing of the filter is not ensured.
HEPA filters in an air handling unit or air conditioning system must be changed every 2000 hours or in accordance with the manufacturer's scheduled maintenance. It must always be done by a specialist with the appropriate protection and with the maximum safety measures, as it is a hazardous waste.
This air filtration system is recommended in spaces where high indoor air quality is required, both for the processes being carried out and for the protection of people, and the ventilation is not adequate, such as in hospitals, pharmaceutical laboratories, electronic components manufacturing lines, aircraft, etc.
Hygiene and cleanliness have become, now more than ever, an obligation. Therefore, in addition to air purification, the disinfection of rooms by means of ozone can be very useful to protect people's health.
Several scientific studies support that ozone gas destroys the SARS coronavirus, as well as 99.99% of other airborne pathogens. Ozone is known to penetrate the cell membrane of the coronavirus, which is sensitive to its oxidising agents, thus helping to reduce the viral load and its spread. In fact, the WHO considers ozone gas to be the most powerful disinfectant against all types of micro-organisms.
Furthermore, when used as a disinfectant, ozone has a very fast action at low concentrations, making it very effective in the elimination of fungi, bacteria, viruses and protozoa.
After ozonisation, it is important to remove the residue that is deposited on surfaces, as inhaling this substance damages lung tissue. For this reason, it cannot be used in close proximity to people.
This technology is suitable for sanitising vehicles and small enclosed spaces.
Purification by UV-C light
UV technology has proven to have evolved sufficiently to kill microorganisms efficiently.
The application of ultraviolet-C light (UV-C) for the sterilization of rooms or environments works as follows:
- UV-C light (253.7nm) penetrates the cell wall of the microorganism.
- High energy UV-C photons are absorbed by cellular proteins and DNA/RNA.
- UV-C light damages the protein structure causing a metabolic alteration.
- The DNA/RNA is chemically altered, so the organisms can no longer replicate.
- Organisms are unable to metabolise and replicate, they cannot cause disease or decay.
This purification technology eliminates viruses, bacteria and fungi, with direct access and adequate exposure time. In addition, it has a minimal cost as it does not require periodic maintenance. It is only necessary to change the tubes approximately every 16,000 hours.
This technology is very suitable for the sterilisation of air, surfaces and working and surgical material or tools, as long as it is carried out in an unmanned room, as ultraviolet light can damage vision and cause damage to the skin.