Peterborough Library to lend carbon dioxide monitoring devices

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Exterior of Peterborough Public Library

Peterborough Public Health logoThanks to the donation of more than 10 carbon dioxide monitors to the Peterborough Public Library, the City of Peterborough will become what is believed to be the first municipality in North America to lend out these devices to residents so they can measure the air quality in their homes. The lending program will begin through the Peterborough Public Library on Friday, April 1.

The devices were donated by Prescientx and CO2 Check.

“We are excited to offer this new service so anyone with a library card can borrow a device to measure the carbon dioxide levels in their home for a period of time,” said Jennifer Jones, Peterborough Public Library CEO. “We hope widespread access to this tool empowers local residents to take the steps needed to improve their indoor air quality, which ultimately benefits everyone’s health.”

Included with the device is a fact sheet prepared by Peterborough Public Health that explains how the carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors work, what the readings mean, and how to improve indoor ventilation or air filtration if CO2 levels are high. This fact sheet was the result of a collaboration of air quality experts around the world, including the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health, Yale University, University of Colorado, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Prescientx (hospital equipment supplier based in Cambridge, Ontario).

“Good ventilation and filtration are important because it helps decrease the risk of illness by reducing the levels of aerosols containing viruses and bacteria, and other air quality concerns, that can make us sick, including the virus causing COVID-19,” said Dr. Thomas Piggott, Medical Officer of Health for Peterborough Public Health. “Measuring CO2 isthe first step to addressing indoor air quality, and it’s easy to correct if levels are elevated by taking simple actions such as increasing air circulation, using air filtration, reducing the number of people in a room, removing the source of any potential pollutants such as wearing a tightly fitting mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Dr. Piggott added he was proud to work with the Peterborough Public Library and other partners on this collaboration – a North American first, Peterborough Public Health believes – to ensure these devices are as accessible as possible to the community regardless if people could afford to access these otherwise costly devices.

CO2 monitoring devices are not the same thing as carbon monoxide detectors as they involve two different gasses. The main source of CO2 is from human exhalation. In fact, each breath exhaled from an average adult contains approximately 35,000 ppm of CO2. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel. Improperly ventilated appliances and engines, particularly in a tightly sealed or enclosed space, may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels. To stay safe, install carbon monoxide detectors permanently on each level of your home.

The Peterborough Public Library CO2 lending program will improve access to information for people and empower them to reduce their risks in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and for other indoor air quality health risks.

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