The Science Behind BAIOTEQ
Learn how BAIOTEQ creates spaces that protect occupant health, promote anti-aging and boost revenue.
BAIOTEQ has combined the last 50 years of research to create an 8 stage biosecurity framework for advancing health in spaces of all kinds. The “8 stage biosecurity framework” was created by a multidisciplinary team of experts from BAIOTEQ Inc with the support of Dalhousie Medicine, University of New Brunswick & the National Research Council of Canada. We hope that you find this information helpful. Our goal is to improve the lives of all people, in all buildings, everywhere, every day.
The 8 stage biosecurity framework is a collection of 8 chapters with curations of the scientific literature on key topics related to the 8 stage biosecurity framework. The 8 chapters are divided as follows: Disease Risk, Air Quality, Water Quality, Cleaning Quality, Thermal Health, Lighting & Ventilation, Occupants & Sentiments and Health/Safety Communication.
BAIOTEQ certified spaces protect occupant health, promote anti-aging and boost revenue. After the 8 chapters, a simplified version of our healthy building testing methodology has been provided. A list of references is at the end of this document
Chapter One: Disease Risk - Stage 1
Apart from the socio-economic havoc, COVID19 has brought to attention the urgent need for disease risk surveillance. It is the most fundamental step towards achieving a healthy space. Disease risk surveillance is essentially a risk management strategy that enables quick and timely response toward protecting human health and saving lives. The approach involves regular re-evaluation of emergency preparedness blueprints, i.e., the adaptability and flexibility of the existing health protocols and recovery strategies. To help counter health threats, organizations should comprehensively align their health emergency plans with the risk data obtained from their continuous disease risk surveillance programs.
According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, safety and security come second after the basic food and water needs. In a layman's perspective, safety and security is only manifested when we see police officer guarding properties, surveillance cameras, and biometric door locks.Unfortunately, this "Safety" notion tends to overlook the biological threats around us. In that light, COVID has been a wake-up call on the importance of disease risk surveillance, emergency plans, and management.
"COVID has shown that poor management of biological threats can collapse businesses”
Whenever there is a biological threat, the biological processes within the human body are altered, thereby affecting physical and psychological functions. For instance, when your body perceives threats, the body releases hormones such as adrenaline (the fight and flight hormone) and cortisol, which in turn elevates the heart rate and blood pressure. At this point, your body is set for a physical or psychological response. Even though the responses may vary from person to person, it is worth noting that psychological stress negatively affects immune function.
Medical studies have shown that chronic stress suppresses the body's immune function, leaving you vulnerable to inflammatory conditions and autoimmune illnesses. On the other hand, high blood pressure can damage your arteries, and in a worst-case scenario, you could develop hypertension or cardiovascular diseases.
That said, it is beyond reasonable doubt that indoor security threats have evolved and exuberated over the last two decades. Unfortunately, organizations don’t look into biosecurity measures until the systems are down and "badly" failing.
BAIOTEQ AI has made real-time Disease Risk Surveillance accessible to organizations of all sizes.
Chapter Two: Air Quality - Stage 2
The COVID 19 health protocols have emphasized the importance of ventilation and social distancing to help improveIndoors air quality (IAQ). However, as much we would look down upon the importance of air quality, the presence of air pollutants in any indoor environment has adverse negative effects on the occupants of the indoor space.
There is a direct correlation between poor indoor air quality and diseases such as headache, irritation, asthma, etc.Considering that almost 90% of human life is spent indoors (offices, places of residence, schools), exposure to indoor air pollutants such as particulate matter (PM), carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as limonene, benzene and formaldehyde is overwhelming in modern times. In fact, 85% of 82,000 chemicals we find in commercial settings lack health data. Repeated exposure to these components culminates in chronic obstructive pulmonary, asthma, bronchitis, and other severe respiratory diseases.
“Exposure to air pollutants increases the risk of respiratory & cardiovascular diseases in addition to causing cancer deaths.”
To emphasize these effects, a geriatric research study conducted in Europe (GERIE) indicated a direct relationship between exposure to indoor particulate matter and cases of wheezing and asthma symptoms among building occupants. The report also found out that poor indoor air quality negatively impacts cognitive functions. The accumulation of indoor air pollutants significantly contributes to work absenteeism and low work productivity.
From an economic viewpoint, it is estimated that the US economy could save between $25 to $150 billion every year from improved indoor environments. In the quest to improve air quality, much attention has been directed towards certain consumer products and building materials that adversely degrade the air quality, i.e., "chemicals of concern."
These chemicals include flame retardants, stain repellants, and plasticizers. These products diffuse into the air and dust, which then end accumulating in our bodies. All of this can have a significant impact on occupant health and further accelerate the aging process.
BAIOTEQ’s sensors provide comprehensive air quality reporting on PM2.5, VOCs, CO2, SO2, O3, NO2, & AQI.
Chapter Three: Water Quality - Stage 3
Biologically, water is essential for the optimal metabolism process, ranging from regulating body temperature and waste removal to lubricating joints. However, you will be astonished by the fact that consumption of poor quality is a leading cause of numerous diseases and outbreaks across the world. Today, water-related illnesses such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid cause over 850,000 deaths every year. Over 240 million people are exposed to water parasite schistosomiasis and neurotoxic heavy metals such as lead which renders the water unsafe for human consumption. As of today, microbial contamination is the leading cause of waterborne diseases and outbreaks in the world.
Even in first-world countries where water quality is perceived to be good, recent studies have shown otherwise. According to a recent CDC data report, water-related outbreaks caused 431 cases, 107 severe cases, and 14 deaths. Over 78% of the cases have been directly linked to community water systems. A 2013 water infrastructure assessment carried out by the American Civil Society of Engineers showed that water infrastructure was below standard. The reported pointed that the water supply pipes (infrastructure) have degraded considering that they have been serving the communities for close to 100 years with replacement. This exposes communities to unhealthy water considering that 61% of US citizens consume tap water.
"Microbial contamination is the largest contributor to the global burden of waterborne disease, and affects 240 million people globally due to infection spread.”
In light of the Flint water crisis in Michigan State, which exposed children to unsafe levels of lead, there are a few other ways through which water quality could be compromised. First, the dissolving metals from the reaction between water and old plumbing fixtures will ultimately contaminate drinking water with neurotoxic heavy metals such as lead and copper. Second, poor water treatment, distribution, and maintenance can render water unfit for consumption, considering it could be polluted with agrochemicals, livestock waste, pesticides, fertilizers, and worst of it all industrial waste for processing and manufacturing plant. All of this can have a significant impact on occupant health and further accelerate the aging process.
Finally, the length of water storage before use also has a degrading effect on water quality.
BAIOTEQ’s ATP testing provides comprehensive data on microbial contamination in a water supply.
Chapter Four: Cleaning Quality - Stage 4
Dust not only contaminates surfaces, but it is also another type of air pollutant, and it is not only dust per se but the toxic combination contaminants resting on the surface of the dust. Typically, humans are exposed to dust through three main ways, i.e., via inhalation, dermal absorption, and direct ingestion.
Dust, particularly from clothes, furniture, and other items, is always suspended and re-suspended as we engage in indoor activities. Eventually, we end up involuntarily inhaling the dust and the chemical pollutants in it. Next, dust particles residing on the surface of human skin can be absorbed into the body via dermal absorption, and finally, indoor occupants can expose themselves to dust through hand-to-mouth ingestion "incidental dust ingestion." Well, it is estimated that adult consume at least 100 mg of dust every day, while children ingest up to 200mg daily.
"Microbial contamination on surfaces can lead to fatal infections. For instance, COVID-19 can remain airborne for up to three hours and on some surfaces for up to 72 hours.”
Generally, the amount of dust consumed may seem relatively small but it poses a great health to human health. Dust carries harmful particles such as viruses, bacteria, fabric fibers, allergens chemicals, flakes that contain lead, with are harmful to humans. However, much attention has been directed to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs); these are chemical components that are resistant to natural/biological breakdown and therefore remain in the air for a very long time.
Research studies have shown a relationship between chemicals found in the body and their working indoors environment, which means persistent exposure to these components could have worrisome effects on your health. For example, exposure to mites' feces often leads to allergic reactions and are also associated with asthmatic attacks. All of this can have a significant impact on occupant health and further accelerate the aging process.
BAIOTEQ’s ATP testing provides comprehensive data on microbial contamination on surfaces.
Chapter Five: Thermal Health - Stage 5
Thermal health, or thermal comfort, has a significant influence on the general health of indoor occupants. Usually, thermal comfort is influenced by several objective factors: humidity, air temperature, and speed. On a biological level, thermal comfort is influenced by metabolic processes and, of course, body insulations, i.e., clothing.
At least 80% of the occupants should feel comfortable with the indoor thermal condition to achieve optimal thermal comfort. This is in accordance with a 1970 model developed by Ole Fanger. Numerous studies have established that when thermal comfort fall below or exceed the acceptable model ranges there is relative decrease in occupants’ performance and productivity. The model is still practiced in most indoor space environments.
"Thermal comfort has been suggested to be more important to office workers’ performance than job stress or job satisfaction. Poor thermal increases the risk of developing serious respiratory infections and asthma.”
Truth be told, the impact of temperature and humidity is a considerable risk to humans considering that there is a general temperature rise across the globe. For example, a heatwave in France in 2003 claimed 15,000 lives. Such abnormal temperatures are only expected to rise with the current global warming crisis.
Even though the typical systems work to maintain body temperature at 37 degrees Celsius, external temperature and humidity significantly influence the health of indoor occupants. For example, high indoor temperatures are known to cause negative moods, sick building syndrome symptoms, respiratory symptoms, hate rate, and fatigue. Also, the humidity in the air tends to influence disease transmissions. For instance, a cold and dry environment optimizes the spread of influenza, while a warm, humid indoor environment catalyzes mold and fungal growth. All of this can have a significant impact on occupant health and further accelerate the aging process.
BAIOTEQ’s sensors provide comprehensive thermal health data including temperature & humidity.
Chapter Six: Lighting & Ventilation - Stage 6
Human beings, like many other organisms, have a biological rhythm that automatically synchronizes to daylight and night. That's why you feel sleepy when it becomes dark. These rhythms are controlled by the brain's circadian clock, which brings us to our first aspect, "Lighting." Subconsciously, lighting is an imperative aspect to pay attention to for a healthy indoor building.
The circadian rhythms significantly regulate the basic metabolism body process, including hormone regulation, sleep-wake cycles, immune function, alertness, and productivity. Any disruption to this natural rhythm has deleterious health outcomes. For instance, night shift workers are more likely to report cases of heart diseases, diabetes, or workplace accidents. Other studies have shown that daylight exposure helps improve vision and sleep quality while deprivation of the same leads to near nearsightedness.
“Air stagnation concentrates airborne viruses or dust. Ensuring minimum levels of ventilation can reduce influenza spread as much as having 50-60% of the people in a building vaccinated.”
The second aspect of this stage is ventilation, which has been a significant concern recently, especially with the ongoing COVID crisis. Ventilation helps bring fresh air with more dilute air pollutants. Poor indoor ventilation is significantly associated with symptoms such as cough, headache, nausea, fatigue, throat and skin irritation, dizziness, sinus congestion, etc. In worst-case scenarios where occupants have been exposed to poor ventilation, there have been reported cases of severe respiratory problems such as asthma, among other respiratory infections. All of this can have a significant impact on occupant health and further accelerate the aging process.
BAIOTEQ’s sensors provide data on lighting and ventilation by measuring indoor light & CO2.
Chapter Seven: Occupants & Sentiments - Stage 7
Organizations typically align health safety and security measures with public health, and occupancy data is at the core of ensuring that buildings are well equipped and built to facilitate a healthy indoor environment. In this era of technological advancement, data occupancy (people count) was done using facial tracking, but this has since been replaced with thermal sensors technology following privacy concerns by the public. The economic value of collecting occupancy data is high; as it helps maximize worker schedules and scaling up profits by cutting on wages and improve the number of customers shoppers in-store.
Using thermal sensors, managers can count the number of people in a building using their body temperature. With this person counting technology, managers can monitor customers' inflow, making it easy to predict peak business hours. With the occupancy data collected, managers can adjust their building to customer traffic to enhance health comfort.
“Understanding & acting on insights about occupants and their sentiments can improve occupant health by reducing sick leaves and improving mental health.”
In addition to understanding occupancy data, it is also important to the sentiments of occupants. More recently, social media has also proven to be an important tool to collect feedback and sentimental data, which helps you understand how customers feel about your building. Rather than a simple count of mentions or comments, sentiment analysis considers emotions and opinions. It involves collecting and analyzing information in the posts people share about your brand on social media. This data can help businesses formulate better health & safety communication strategies by understanding how occupants feel towards the building.
BAIOTEQ’s sensor provides accurate occupancy data while BAIOTEQ’s AI tracks occupant sentiments.
Chapter Eight: Health & Safety Communication - Stage 8
Effective health and safety communication strategies are the central pillars to ensuring a healthy indoor environment. Therefore, it is imperative that the building occupants are aware of the existing health safety protocols and measures. Unfortunately, poor safety communication is a massive problem in modern buildings, with systematic barriers being the root of ineffective safety communication, as evidenced by the COVID 19 pandemic. Working communication strategies play a crucial role in ensuring building occupants (employees and customers) always stay safe and healthy.
“By effective health & safety communication, organizations can promote health literacy, leading to increased participation in healthy behaviours and also employer benefits, like providing an estimated 4:1 R.O.I.”
BAIOTEQ’s health and safety communication methods can increase public confidence in the building by 60%.
Chapter Nine: Testing Methodology
‘Air Quality’ (Max 20 points): 20 Points (IAQ 0-10); 19 Points (IAQ 11-20); 18 Points (IAQ 21-30); 17 Points (IAQ 31-40); 16 Points (IAQ 41-50); 15 Points (IAQ 51-60); 14 Points (IAQ 61-70); 13 Points (IAQ 71-80); 12 Points (IAQ 81-100); 11 Points (IAQ 101-125); 10 Points (IAQ 125+)
‘Water Quality’ (Max 20 points): 20 Points (ATP 0-10); 19 Points (ATP 11-20); 18 Points (ATP 21-30); 17 Points (ATP 31-50); 16 Points (ATP 51-80); 15 Points (ATP 81-100); 14 Points (ATP101-120); 13 Points (ATP 121-160); 12 Points (ATP 161-200); 11 Points (ATP 201-300); 10 Points (ATP 300+)
'Cleaning Quality' (Max 20 points): 20 Points (ATP 0-10); 19 Points (ATP 11-20); 18 Points (ATP 21-30); 17 Points (ATP 31-50); 16 Points (ATP 51-80); 15 Points (ATP 81-100); 14 Points (ATP 101-120); 13 Points (ATP 121-160); 12 Points (ATP 161-200); 11 Points (ATP 201-300); 10 Points (ATP 300+)
‘Thermal Health’ (Max 20 points):
Includes Temperature & Relative Humidity: Temperature:
10 Points (18.5-20.5 Celcius); 9 Points (+/-.5C); 8 Points (+/-.5C); 7 Points (+/-.5C); 6 Points (+/-.5C); 5 Points (+/-.5C); 4 Points (+/-.5C); 3 Points (+/-.5C); 2 Points (+/-.5C); 1 Points (+/-.5C); 0 Points (+/-.5C)
10 Points (45%-55% Relative Humidity); 9 Points (+/-5%); 8 Points (+/-5%); 7 Points (+/-5%); 6 Points (+/-5%); 5 Points (+/-5%); 4 Points (+/-5%); 3 Points (+/-5%); 2 Points (+/-5%); 1 Points (+/-5%); 0 Points (+/-5%)
‘Lighting and Ventilation’ (Max 20 points):
10 Points (100%); 9 Points (99-90%); 8 Points (89-80%); 7 Points (79-70%); 6 Points (69-60%); 5 Points (59-50%); 4 Points (49-40%); 3 Points (39-30%); 2 Points (29-20%); 1 Points (19-10%); 0 Points (9-0%)
Ventilation- Carbon Dioxide:
10 Points (Below 200ppm); 9 Points (201-300ppm); 8 Points (301-400ppm); 7 Points (401-500ppm); 6 Points (501-600ppm); 5 Points (601-700ppm); 4 Points (701-800ppm); 3 Points (801-900ppm); 2 Points (901-1000ppm); 1 Points (1001-1100ppm); 0 Points (1101 ppm+)
The final building health score is a sum of all these scores and is based out of 100. Buildings with building health score 90+ are eligible for a BAIOTEQ STAR while buildings between 80-89 are eligible healthy buildings. Buildings below 79 are classified as a health risk.
*Measurement units based on BAIOTEQ’s sensors output units.
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Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Healthy Buildings, Biosecurity, AI, IoT, Public Health, Anti-Aging.