SAFER AIR INITIATIVE
Safer Air was born in Spring 2022 out of a desire to provide our communities with another tool to combat COVID-19. We noticed that neighborhoods with the highest pollution indexes were also those with the highest rates of COVID—neighborhoods are where there are high concentrations of families of color. The main objective of Safer Air is to give these highly impacted community members agency in monitoring and improving their indoor air quality, and thus working to address a critical health equity and racial justice issue.
Why Clean Air?
Testing breaks transmission chains, but does not prevent COVID-19. COVID-19 is transmitted through airborne droplets called aerosols. When indoor air quality is improved via proper ventilation and filtration, the likelihood of contracting COVID and other viruses decreases because there are fewer pollutants for the viruses to cling to and enter our bodies. Clean indoor air in public spaces as well as homes slows down the spread of COVID.
Additional Health Benefits
There are many other major health benefits of clean air such as improved cognition, reduced asthma and respiratory symptoms, improved sleep, fewer missed school days, fewer ER visits, and more. In San Francisco, wildfires have increased in frequency and severity, yet another reason to focus on clean indoor air.
Black and brown communities are the most impacted by environmental pollution and they have the highest rates of asthma, COVID-19, and other chronic health issues—a direct result of structural racism. The geography of risk in San Francisco plainly shows the overlap of COVID-19 cumulative case rates, high rates of asthma and respiratory health, and high levels of environmental particle pollution, all in neighborhoods where primarily Black and brown families reside.
Our Approach to Safer Air
At Safer Together, we believe in public health core principles and advocate for layered approaches to community healthcare. In the case of COVID-19, we look to the “Swiss Cheese Respiratory Pandemic Defense” model, which “recognizes that no single intervention is perfect at preventing the spread of coronavirus.” Safer Together focuses on the shared community responsibilities part of this model (below).
Graphic from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/05/health/coronavirus-swiss-cheese-infection-mackay.html
By providing the tools, training, and engagement community members need to succeed in monitoring and leveraging their indoor air quality (IAQ) knowledge, our environmental and social justice program will reduce COVID-19 transmission and make a tremendous ongoing positive impact on the health of families.
HOW WE HELP
Materials for DIY Air Filters
We supply DIY Corsi-Rosenthal Boxes to our partners and their most vulnerable households. Learn more below!
We train partners to understand the what, how, and why of Safer Air.
We supply air monitors to gauge air quality (CO2, PM2.5) in real time for communal spaces and residences.
Our mission includes canvassing for equitable and accessible clean indoor air.
What Are DIY Corsi-Rosenthal Boxes?
Corsi-Rosenthal Boxes are DIY box fan air filters; they consist of a box fan, MERV 13 air filters, duct tape, and cardboard. They are simple to put together and can even be a good project to involve kids in.
Learn more via this video: