A new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that the cost of ventilation and ventilation equipment (VDE) is so high that many people don’t bother purchasing them.
According to the study, nearly 80% of workers who had to be evacuated due to an air quality problem at work or at home also reported that they purchased their VDE at the expense of their health.
“The reason this was surprising is that it’s hard to find data on the cost effectiveness of VDE, but there’s no reason to think this will change anytime soon,” says Michael Farr, MD, PhD, of the University of Colorado Denver.
“Ventilation equipment is very important for the workplace.
The problem is that most people don�t realize the cost.”
Farr’s study looked at two groups of workers.
First, workers who received an air pollution alert on a weekly basis.
“We wanted to see if we could predict how many people would be evacuated,” he says.
Then, the researchers looked at the workers who were more likely to be exposed to the high concentrations of pollution on a regular basis.
The results were surprising.
“Vapour barrier insulation was cheaper, on average, than the standard equipment,” says Farr.
“If you had to buy an extra ventilator, it would be about half the cost.
But the cost was still less than the cost associated with the standard ventilation system.”
The study also found that people who were forced to evacuate due to their VCA installation cost more than people who received air quality alerts.
Farr and his colleagues found that workers who purchased the standard VCA for less than $50 were more than twice as likely to experience respiratory problems as workers who bought the ventilators for $100.
“We have a real problem here, and we�re seeing it in the workplace, as well as in homes,” Farr says.
“There�s a lot of uncertainty about how to deal with the issue.”
“This study demonstrates that ventilating is not a good solution to a problem that is causing respiratory illness in workers and people in the community,” says Dr. John A. O�Brien, an assistant professor at the University at Buffalo.
“Even though ventilation is usually a safe practice, there needs to be more research to better understand what�s working and what�t.”
According to Farr’s team, the main reason for ventilatory failure is poor ventilation.
“In our studies, the venting system was not designed for the air quality issue,” he explains.
“A new ventilation system is required.
If you want to prevent respiratory problems, you�re going to need better ventilation.
If a new ventilater doesn�t do the job, you need to replace the old one.”
O�Brien says it�s likely that the costs associated with ventilative failure will continue to increase in the future, particularly with the cost increase that will result from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
For more information, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).