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Ventilation Calculator Measures Operatory Air Exchange Rates

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Researchers at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health (EIOH) in Rochester, New York, have created a “ventilator calculator” to help practices improve their indoor air quality in an effort to mitigate the risk for SARS-CoV-2 transmission. The calculator determines the number of air changes per hour in a given space, which helps clinicians decide if they wish to implement additional engineering controls to increase ventilation. Published in the Journal of Dentistry, the EIOH study explains how a carbon dioxide monitor, baking soda, and vinegar can be used to determine ventilation rates.

“We found that carbon dioxide levels in treatment rooms are directly associated with ventilation rates and the number of people in the room,” reports Yanfang Ren, DDS, PhD, MPH, an EIOH professor and coauthor of the study. “While many factors play a role in the ventilation rate, improving a room’s ventilation could be as easy as adding a portable air cleaner.” Because oral health professionals perform a wide variety of procedures that produce spatter, droplets, and aerosols, EIOH developed strategies to improve the ventilation rate to 15 air changes per hour in its operatories. According to the authors, improved ventilation and air filtration are important steps in a multilayered approach for safe delivery of care during an infectious respiratory disease pandemic.

From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. January 2022; 20(1)12.

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