With science continuing to point to respiratory droplets and aerosols as a principal means of transmission, the study focused on airflow and the impact of ventilation rates and types, purification technologies (specifically needlepoint bipolar ionization) and the proper use of masks.
The study was led by Dr.
Intensity of exposure is impacted by the level of air exchange or ventilation. Elevators have significant air exchange by design, compared to many other indoor spaces, and are required by code to have openings for ventilation. Many elevators also have fans to increase ventilation.
"Air exchange is important. Our findings concluded that the higher ventilation in an elevator, relative to the compared activities, results in lower exposure opportunity. If all passengers properly wear masks, the relative exposure risk drops 50%. Air purification, called NPBI, can reduce this by an additional 20-30%," said
Qualitative comparisons place riding an elevator with all passengers wearing masks in a low exposure risk category, with a relative risk similar to that of shopping in a supermarket.
"Elevators are an essential part of everyday life for many, often the first leg in your journey and the last on your route home. We know many passengers have questions about exposure risks associated with riding an elevator, and we want to provide answers verified by science," said
More details of the elevator airflow study, including a technical whitepaper, are available on otis.com. The full technical report, authored by the Purdue University research team, is available by request and expected to be published in a peer-reviewed academic journal later this year.
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1All riders properly wearing (nose and mouth covered) surgical-style masks as recommended by the
2Air purification called needle point bipolar ionization (NPBI) as compared to elevators without NPBI air purification.
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