AIHA Supports EPA Clean Air in Buildings Challenge

The challenge is part of President Biden’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, released earlier this month.

On March 17, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  published its Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which calls for building owners and operators to take actions reducing risks from airborne viruses and other indoor contaminants by following the challenge’s provided set of guiding principles and best practices. The challenge is part of President Biden’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, released earlier this month. Key actions outlined in the challenge include the creation of a clean indoor air action plan, optimization of fresh air ventilation, enhancement of air filtration and cleaning, and community engagement, communication, and education efforts. Through these actions, building owners and operators are encouraged to collaborate with experts, facilities managers, and others to reduce occupants’ risks of exposure to indoor contaminants.

According to AIHA CEO Lawrence D. Sloan, “AIHA welcomes this challenge and shares its goal of helping building owners and managers improve indoor air quality and protect the health of our communities.”

“To this end,” Sloan added, “under a cooperative grant agreement funded in part by a CDC/NIOSH grant, AIHA has developed several free, science-based resources to help businesses and workers improve air quality and reduce the transmission of COVID-19.”

The above mentioned resources are associated with Commit to C.A.R.E., AIHA’s public awareness campaign to promote accurate information about COVID-19, following the principles of community, awareness, responsibility, and equity. “All the tools developed under this project have been created with the needs of a non-scientific and non-medical audience in mind—that is, for people running businesses,” said Sloan. “They are designed to empower accountability and responsibility and intended to facilitate fair and equitable access to information by everyone.”

The Commit to C.A.R.E. initiative strives to debunk myths about the spread of COVID-19 and make scientific complexities easier to understand through engaging multimedia tools that are available in nine different languages and at no cost. The initiative also invites businesses and public health organizations to guarantee their contributions to making buildings, organizations, and communities healthier and safer by taking the Commit to C.A.R.E. pledge.

In addition, AIHA offers a series of free public resources that can help building owners and operators successfully meet the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, including:

  • Back to Work Safely, a library of 27 industry-specific guidance documents, available online for free in English and Spanish
  • Indoor Air Quality, a hub of free information on improving indoor air quality, developed by occupational and environmental health and safety professionals
  • Pandemics Resource Center, a CDC-supported educational initiative that includes resources like the HVAC Optimization Checklist (PDF) and the Portable Air Cleaner Optimization Checklist (PDF)

A complete PDF of the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, and other information relevant to indoor air quality and COVID-19, can be accessed on EPA’s website.

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