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Guidance on the use of filtration and air cleaning systems for protecting building environments from airborne chemical, biological, or radiological attacks.

Earnest G; Gressel M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2003 May; :63
A group of federal government employees has developed a NIOSH document addressing filtration and air cleaning issues associated with protecting building environments from an airborne chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) attack. The intended audience includes building designers, building heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system designers, building owners, managers, and maintenance personnel of public, private, and governmental buildings. Filtration and air cleaning systems are tools that can be used to protect a building and its occupants from CBR attack. Although it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of an attack, filtration and air cleaning systems are important components of a comprehensive plan to reduce the consequences. CBR agents are toxic air contaminants that may be transported through the air as a gas, vapor, or aerosol. These agents can effectively be collected by using properly designed and well-maintained filtration and air cleaning systems. These systems have other benefits such as improving building cleanliness, reducing disease transmission, and improving the building's indoor air quality. Building owners and managers must fully understand how their existing building and HVAC systems are designed and operate. With that knowledge and an assessment of the current threat, an informed decision can be made regarding a building's air filtration and air cleaning needs. This document addresses the threat from CBR agents and their properties, principles of particulate and gas-phase filtration, and recommendations regarding effective selection, installation, and maintenance of these systems. It discusses the role of ASHRAE Standards in selecting particulate filters and the use of ASZM-TEDA carbon and other sorbents for collecting chemical agents. While no building can be fully protected from a determined group or individual intent on releasing a CBR agent, the recommendations in this guide/presentation should help to limit the number of injuries or fatalities in the event of a CBR release.
Filtration; Airborne-dusts; Airborne-particles; Chemical-warfare-agents; Biological-agents; Biological-factors; Biological-warfare-agents; Occupational-safety-programs; Environmental-factors; Workplace-monitoring; Workplace-studies; Air-contamination; Gases; Vapors; Aerosols; Biohazards; Microorganisms
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas
Page last reviewed: December 18, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division