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If you are a restaurant owner, or if you want to become one, you should be made aware of trending researches concerning indoor air quality. In fact, many health institutions are now studying how poor indoor air quality can facilitate the spread of germs and viruses such as COVID-19. With the focus now shifting towards indoor air, there is a new need for restaurant pollution control. This calls for a closer inspection on why these businesses, and their customers, should be made aware of the indoor air quality of their buildings.

Why restaurant pollution control is necessary

First, let us look at the data on the air quality in restaurants. If you think we are exaggerating how polluted they are, you better prepare yourself. In fact, research shows that the indoor air of restaurants is high in PM (Particulate Matter). This pollutant comes in high quantities through aerosols which cooks use extensively in cooking procedures. Aerosols have their use, of course, but they also pollute a lot1. Do not get us wrong though. We do not expect cooks to dispose of the cooking products that they use as aerosols.

We do want to inform you though that you can do something about PM emissions that come out of aerosol products. For those of you who do not know, PM is composed of fine particles that are often too small to see. They can originate from dust, dirt, smoke or from other complex chemical reactions2.

Health effects of PM

As we have said, PM acts as an indoor pollutant. Therefore, it is only natural that we suffer the consequences that come with fine particulate matter. Additionally, it is important to note that the smaller PM are the ones that you need to look out for. When they are less than 10 micrometers in diameter, they can reach into your lungs. Sometimes, they can get into your blood stream which can also have an impact on your heart. Health effects that come with PM exposure include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Decreased lung function
  • Increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Nonfatal heart attacks
  • Premature death in people with heart or lung disease3

As you can see, PM is not to be taken lightly. Hence why we need to pay more attention to indoor pollutants. One good way to do this is by investing in air monitoring devices. These are connected to WI-FI and you can access them via a smartphone or tablet.

Restaurant pollution control with open-kitchen.

Restaurant pollution control with real-time indoor air quality monitors

Do no get the wrong idea. Air quality monitors will not reduce the pollutant levels inside your restaurant. They are, however, useful tools that can monitor pollutant levels in real time. With this “smart home” technology, you can always check if you breathe in safe levels of PM. This is crucial if you want to invest in people’s health, which you should, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you think your restaurant will be spared from bad indoor air quality, think again. According to a research conducted in an open-kitchen restaurant, PM levels in the dining room were far above the recommendations of WHO. The research even concluded that employees and frequent customers were more at risk of suffering from health effects related to COVID-19. Furthermore, researchers pointed out that restaurants should be equipped with indoor air quality monitors to keep themselves safe and healthy4.

Now, if you do not have an open air restaurant, you might not expose your customers to levels of fine particulates that are that high. However, you might expose your employees to them as they are often in the kitchen where the indoor pollutants come from. This means that the health of your employees is most likely at risk. Therefore, chances are that they will take sick leaves more often than if they were working in a place with good air quality. This financial lost brings us to our next point.

The financial cost of bad indoor air quality

In California alone, the cost of bad indoor air quality is estimated to be at least $60 billion in 2007 dollars5. That is only one state. Now, imagine how much money indoor pollution costs throughout the world. Pretty hard to imagine such a big number eh? This is why we need air quality solutions, and indoor pollution control is one of them.

Bad air quality means less productive employees and less money being made!

If you want to save money, you need to invest in good air quality. Indoor pollution control does require short-term spending, but it does provide a long-term reward. By investing in the health of your employees and your customers, you will be able to tell the world that your restaurant is the safest place in town to dine-out!

Did you know?

There are many contaminants other than fine particulates that contribute to indoor pollution. If you liked this article, check out this content about another pollutant known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

References

  1. https://www.aau.edu/research-scholarship/featured-research-topics/exhaust-restaurants-contributes-significantly-air
  2. https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/particulate-matter-pm-basics
  3. https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/health-and-environmental-effects-particulate-matter-pm
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278431920304060
  5. https://journals.lww.com/epidem/Fulltext/2008/11001/The_Cost_of_Health_and_Productivity_Impacts_of.896.aspx