Many school districts across the country have invested in their facility ventilation systems and installed air cleaning devices like purifiers to improve indoor air quality for students, teachers and staff. .
the latest guidelines released late last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends schools improve ventilation at facilities to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
However, some schools are seriously concerned about the operation of air purification devices. Recently, Newark Unified School District in Newark, California disconnected more than 500 ionizers due to a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer who claims their air cleaning devices make the air worse, reports The Mercury News.
The Newark Unified School District Board of Directors approved the purchase of 556 bipolar ionizers for US $ 359,945 from North Carolina-based Global Plasma Solutions in November 2020 to purify the air in classrooms and prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A salesperson presented the effectiveness of ionization devices against the coronavirus to the school board in November. The district had said that the devices would be paid for the use of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) funds.
After learning of a May 7 class action lawsuit filed in Delaware federal court against Global Plasma Solutions, Superintendent Mark Triplett sent an email stating that the district “has decided to disconnect all of these devices from our HVAC units until. new order. As always, the health and safety of our students and staff remains our top priority, and we will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves, ”he said.
The lawsuit claims the manufacturer’s ionizers “make the air worse for people” by reducing some volatile organic compounds (VOCs) but increasing the concentration of other VOCs.
The manufacturer disputes these claims.
“The lawsuit is baseless and based on flawed research, and we will file a motion to dismiss the case in the coming days,” a spokesperson for Global Plasma Solution said in an emailed statement to The Mercury News . “We are also expanding an offering to perform on-site testing to verify the safety of this technology and the additional benefits and confidence that bipolar ionization offers Newark schools.”
Marwa Zaatari, a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) epidemic working group, had questioned the effectiveness of ionization devices. Zaatari said Kaiser Health News earlier this month that Global Plasma Solutions sued her and another air quality consultant for criticizing their devices.