Using filtration systems to protect building environments from airborne chemical, biological, or radiological attacks.
Terrorist activities have resulted in heightened awareness of the vulnerability of U.S. workplaces, schools, and other occupied buildings to chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) threats. Of particular concern are building HVAC systems, as they can become entry points and distribution systems for many hazardous contaminants, including CBR agents. Properly designed, installed, and maintained air filtration systems can reduce the effects of CBR agents by removing contaminants from the air in the building. Building owners, managers, designers, and maintenance personnel need reliable information about filtration options, such as: what types of air filtration systems are effective for various CBR agents; what types of air filtration systems can be implemented in an existing HVAC system; what types of air filtration systems can be incorporated into existing buildings when they undergo renovation; and how to properly maintain the air filtration systems installed in a building. Proper air filtration combined with other protective measures can reduce the risk and mitigate the consequences of a CBR attack. Measures outlined in this article also provide the side benefits of improved HVAC performance - increased building cleanliness, limited effects from accidental releases, and generally improved IAQ. Air filtration systems can remove a variety of contaminants from a building's airborne environment. The effectiveness of a particular type of filter or air cleaning media will depend upon the nature of the contaminant.