What is the relationship between Pollution and Covid-19?
A debate is open about the impact of pollution on lethality of Covid-19. Although it is premature to draw conclusions on this correlation, pollution seems to be an important co-factor that can contribute to the epidemic worsening.
The Italian Aerosol Society (IAS) has published a paper about this issue: ‘Information on the relationship between air pollution and spread of COVID-19 ‘ and stated that there are some elements to be kept in consideration:
- the exposure to high concentrations of PM increases the vulnerability to cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases and worsens the conditions of ill people;
- there is no doubt that the reduction of anthropogenic emissions, if maintained for a long period, has beneficial effects on the air quality and climate and therefore on general health.
Indoor environmental health
What is stated about PM can be extended to other pollutants. hence there are some main environmental factors to be monitored for the benefit of occupants’ health. They are:
- Volatile Organic Compounds, in order to prevent high VOCs concentrations due to the use of toxic disinfectants and detergents;
- Particulate matter;
- Formaldehyde (and possibly other possible pollution factors, especially if carcinogenic), to avoid exposure to substances that cause chronic toxicity;
- Temperature, humidity and CO2, to guarantee a healthy microclimate.
The benefits of continuous monitoring of these factors are multiple. First of all, it allows better control on safety and healthiness of workplaces, highlighting areas of potential improvement. For instance, these data can provide valuable inputs for a proper maintenance of the ventilation systems and best practices for space management.
A further longer-term benefit is provided by prevention of any pathology or disorder related to indoor pollution, especially related to the respiratory system. In fact, it has been observed that a better individual general state of health gets better the response to an eventual exposure to Covid-19.
As the sources of indoor pollution are mainly related to the building and to all activities going on, it is crystal clear how a continuous monitoring system contributes to remove sources of pollution and modify the human activities having an impact on Indoor environmental Quality.