Filtration Is An Important Part Of School IAQ

It is with some great disappointment that I read an entire article inThe Newsabout IAQ in schools ["School IAQ Gets Attention From Exhibitors," Feb. 16] without a single mention of the word filters. It would seem that with the ASHRAE [American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers] 62 Standard requiring a minimum of MERV [Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value] 6 and with all the knowledge gained in outside air contaminants, that somewhere the idea of proper filtration would at least be approached when thinking of IAQ in schools.

As current president of the NAFA [National Air Filtration Association] organization, I have heard this outrage from heads of companies representing thousands of individuals wondering how this could happen.

While the information is valuable in what is covered in the article, the NAFA organization has developed a presentation for the technology of clean air with a module for schools built in. We cover not only filtration but also touch on the other parameters.

I sincerely hope that this was just an oversight as we would be more than willing to offer assistance or data for such publications. One such tool is the NAFA Guide to Air Filtration, in its third publication edition.

Phil Maybee, CAFS
National Air Filtration Association
Virginia Beach, Va.

Chemicals Affect IAQ In Schools

While I appreciate that John R. Hall spent a great deal of time researching his article ["School IAQ Gets Attention From Exhibitors" ] in the [Feb. 16] edition, it would be good if someone would talk about chemicals in school IAQ.

Many schools use highly toxic cleaning supplies, pesticides, and even new furniture, carpets, etc., which cause high levels of VOCs [volatile organic compounds], formaldehyde, and other toxins.

UV is nice for the obvious IAQ solutions it offers, but if the UV is emitting ozone, it is just introducing other problems into the classroom.

Thank you for addressing school IAQ problems. Keep up the good work!

Joseph Muchow
E.L. Foust Co. Inc.
Elmhurst, Ill.

Various Possible Culprits For CO Poisonings

You should be aware that the "facts" on CO poisonings in the Feb. 23, 2004 editorial, "A Man's Quest To Stop CO Poisonings," are misleading and need to be clarified. Anyone reading that there are 5,000 people succumbing to CO poisoning each year, as Mark Skaer's editorial reports, would naturally assume that these poisonings would involve faulty furnaces, especially since the lead in to this editorial is a story that describes how an individual developed his new product because of his experience of CO sickness from a furnace flue problem. While we are all concerned about any CO incident, you need to accurately report the CO incident statistics. Here are the facts as reported by the federal agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

According to the CPSC, nearly two-thirds of the unintentional deaths from CO not related to fires are caused by motor vehicle exhaust. Motor vehicle exhaust caused approximately 60 percent of the approximately 516 unintentional, CO-related deaths that occurred on average each year between 1994-98, according to CPSC. The estimated 200 remaining deaths were associated with consumer combustion equipment representing all fuels (propane, natural gas, wood, gasoline generators, etc.) and including heating and water heating equipment, charcoal grills, camping equipment, and ranges and ovens.

In fact, according to the most recent statistics published by CPSC in 2003, average annual CO fatalities involving gas heating systems declined from 106 per year for 1994-98, to 59 per year for 1999-2000, a 44-percent decline. Overall, fatalities associated with all fuel-burning consumer appliances declined from 200 per year to 124 per year, a 38-percent decline. These declines are consistent with the historical trend for declines in CO fatalities since World War II and appear to be the result of the changeout of older combustion equipment, newer housing stock, and increased awareness of combustion appliance safety.

James A. Ranfone
Managing Director,
Building Codes and Standards
American Gas Association

Publication date: 05/03/2004