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

Top Stories

Air Quality

(Chopper 5)...
Ayanna Likens

How does Utah’s air quality compare to other states?

Air quality seems to be top of mind for most Utahns. But how does it compare to other states?
4 days ago
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall speaking to KSL-TV about what the city has done in 2022. (KSL-...
Jed Boal

SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall grades 2022 city goals and accomplishments

In a one-on-one interview, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said the city has substantially reduced violent crime since its peak in 2021.
14 days ago
Brooke Williams

UTA to waive fares, increase services during NBA All-Star week

UTA is offering free public transportation to all for ten days in February surrounding the NBA All-Star Week hosted by the Utah Jazz.
19 days ago
Two walking near Great Salt Lake, with dusty air in horizon...
MATTHEW DALY Associated Press

EPA awards grants to monitor air quality in 37 states, including Utah

The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded grants for projects to monitor air quality in 37 states, with a focus on minority communities and other areas overburdened by pollution. A total of 132 projects will receive $53 million to enhance air quality monitoring near chemical plants, refineries and other industrial sites. The grants announced Thursday are part of a commitment by the Biden administration to focus on environmental justice in communities adversely affected by decades of industrial pollution. Eight projects being funded are in neighborhoods that EPA Administrator Michael Regan visited last year on what he calls a "Journey to Justice" tour of communities plagued by long-term pollution.
3 months ago
A temperature inversion traps and fills Utah valley with thick smog as seen from Traverse Mountain ...
Brooke Williams

Up to $4,300 offered for Utahns to replace wood stove, fireplace heating

Wood stove and fireplace conversion project opens registration soon for eligible residents to receive financial compensation to upgrade their home heating systems.
3 months ago
An image of the inversion from the east bench of Salt Lake County. (Jed Boal/KSL TV)...
Cary Schwanitz

Air-clearing restrictions on fireplaces begin next week

It’s that time of year again when an unhealthy inversion can leave a cloud of pollution hanging over the Wasatch Front.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Indoor air quality can impact risk of viral transmission