A team of engineers from
The bioaerosols identified in the unnamed Midwestern hospital pool had sickened nine lifeguards who had become ill with hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a lung condition that mimics pneumonia symptoms.
Lars T. Angenent, Ph.D.,
“This specific filter has a blower that takes a high volume of air and puts it through a filter that screens bacteria and even smaller particles,” said Angenent, a member of
The researchers also tested the hybrid filters in an environmentally controlled laboratory chamber to come up with the air-exchange rate for the therapy pool assays, among other parameters.
Bioaerosols pose a threat to public health through infectious and toxic diseases. Today there are increased settings where people gather and can be affected by such bioaerosols. Among these “high-exposure environments” are correctional facilities, homeless shelters, healthcare facilities, and public transit systems. Additionally, the advent of hot tubs, hospital therapy pools and other warm-water leisure and therapy pools, many bioaerosols researchers believe, creates harbours that enhance the aerosolisation of microorganisms, including strains of Legionella and Mycobacterium, that can cause diseases such as “lifeguard lung.”
“The results of this study suggest that a reasonable reduction in bioaerosol concentrations can be achieved by installing this new generation of hybrid air filters,” the researchers said in an article published in the February 2005 issue of the Journal of Air & Waste Management Association. “Engineering control methods must be balanced with constraints such as occupant comfort, economic factors, and building management strategies to ensure that the health risks associated with bioaerosol exposure are as low as practical.”