Air Purifiers In Every Classroom? Which Districts Are Doing It?
Austin Air Systems located in Buffalo’s industrial zone builds some of the most sophisticated air purifiers in the world.
By the end of this year, according to NEWS 4 (WIVB-TV) Austin Air will sell more than 125,000 of these purifiers,to large businesses and school districts.
“We have HEPA, which has been recommended by the WHO and the CDC for the reduction of COVID aerosols in the air,” said Lauren McMillan, president of Austin Air Systems. “But we also have carbon in our filters. Every filter that we produce has 15 lbs. of carbon.”
McMillan says the dual filters remove gasses, volatile organic compounds, as well as droplets that contain viruses, from the air.
“All the things that affect the respiratory system and make you get sicker when you get sick,” she said.
Erie County’s Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein addressed air ventilation during her announcement of back-to-school guidelines on Monday — urging districts to take additional steps to protect students and staff.
“Ventilation is a very powerful, non-pharmaceutical intervention that I think in WNY in the cold climate we haven’t really taken advantage of enough. But it is very powerful to prevent COVID-19 transmission,” Burstein said.
Earlier this month, the Toronto School Board recognized the purifier’s effectiveness and ordered one for every room in every building — system-wide that’s a contract for 17,000 purifiers.
Here in Western New York McMillan says, Grand Island and Amherst are the only districts to act on purifiers from Austin Air. Grand Island schools have one in every classroom; Amherst has a contract for up to 300.
It’s cheaper — and often times more effective than replacing an entire HVAC system, especially in older buildings, McMillan says.
As someone who works in offices of a century-old Buffalo building this sounds like something that would make sense not just for a pandemic, but as a healthy option for an upgrade in older buildings throughout the area.