Indoor air quality can impact risk of viral transmission

Dec 16, 2022, 9:01 PM | Updated: 10:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Aranet4 measures carbon-dioxide, and when that number gets over 800, we’re basically sharing each-others’ air.

Aerosol-scientists use this data to determine the risk for viral transmission.

When taken on public transportation trains in downtown Salt Lake City, the numbers on the Aranet4 stayed relatively low, and raised as people got on board.

At a grocery store, the numbers were consistently over 1,000.

Doctor Jose-Luis Jimenez, a professor of chemistry and environmental sciences at the University of Colorado, is considered one of the top experts in this subject. He said this information is important because many viruses spread primarily through air.

“The idea is that it’s a way to know how much exhaled air is in a place. We get infected from breathing exhaled air from others,” he said.

Washing your hands is important, he said that is more effective at fighting off potential infections and diseases that go from the fecal or oral route, like salmonella.

“There is zero proven cases of surface-transmission of COVID,” he said. “Viruses are present in our saliva and our respiratory fluid, it comes out in these aerosols afloat…when you breathe it in, its right there on the cells it needs to infect your respiratory system.”

A device like the Aranet4 exposes things in the are that not visible to the human eye. Dr. Jimenez compares it to a smoker exhaling smoke–you can see and smell it, but as for viruses, they are invisible.

“One that’s important is vocalization,” he said. “We know that places where people are talking loudly or yelling or singing… that’s where we see tons of superspreading events; in churches, in choirs, especially if you’re not wearing masks.”

Indoor ventilation is often designed to eliminate odors, but it’s not enough to stop the spread of viruses, he said.

You can protect yourself with a N95 mask, or avoid higher-risk areas. At home or work, you could use air-cleaners and purifiers that can help capture some of those viruses.

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah's Air Quality

(KSL TV)...

Mike Anderson

Rising population contributes to Utah’s air pollution, but air quality is improving over the long term

Experts say that despite poor air quality Thursday, pollution is decreasing in Utah over the long term thanks to reduced per-capita emissions.

9 days ago

The inversion as seen from Salt Lake City on Nov. 29, 2023. (Jack Grimm, KSL TV)...


A storm and inversion relief is on its way to Utah

People should be able to breathe a little bit easier this weekend. A major winter storm is expected to dump snow all over Northern Utah and clear out the nasty air.

9 days ago

Salt Lake City 's inversion...

Katija Stjepovic

New construction projects are focusing on electric power over gas

Switching from gas to electric cars could drastically clean up Salt Lake City's air.

2 months ago

Smoke from fires in the Pacific Northwest create haze at Utah State University....

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Hazy, smoky skies return to Utah — but for how long?

Yes, wildfire smoke is back making hazy skies in Utah. Winds brought smoke from the Pacific Northwest into Utah on Wednesday.

3 months ago

TRAXX train stop...


UTA announces ‘Zero Fare for Clean Air’ on Thursday and Friday

Utah Transit Authority announced free fare days August 17-18. The free fare days, called “Zero Fare for Clean Air” are funded by the Utah State Legislature. The project intends to increase awareness and encourage public transit use on bad air quality days. 

4 months ago

The Wasatch Front pollution...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com 

Environmental justice report shows air quality disparities on Salt Lake City’s west side

Pollution has a "disproportionate" impact on several neighborhoods on Salt Lake City's west side, according to a preliminary report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.

5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Indoor air quality can impact risk of viral transmission