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Access Board ISSUES Updated Guidelines
The U.S. Access Board has received approval to issue updated accessibility guidelines for facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The board plans to publish the new guidelines on July 26, 2004.
The new rule marks the first full-scale update of the ADA accessibility guidelines, which were originally published in 1991. The final rule also will include updated guidelines for federal facilities, which are covered not by the ADA, but by an earlier law, the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). Both the ADA guidelines and the ABA guidelines address access in new construction and alterations.
The published guidelines will not be mandatory for the public. Instead, they will serve as the baseline for enforceable standards — which are mandatory — maintained by the agencies. The other agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Justice under the ADA, must update their standards according to the board’s guidelines. In doing so, they will indicate when the new requirements must be followed.
“These guidelines are not yet an enforceable useable standard,” says Joan Stein, a consultant and president and CEO of Accessibility Development Associates Inc. “Making it enforceable is the Justice Department’s role, and that process will likely take several years.”
Report shows Fresh air improves IAQ
The more outdoor air that is pumped into office ventilation systems, the lower the inside levels of viruses that cause the common cold, according to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Dr. Donald K. Milton from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and his colleagues sampled the workday air from three office buildings and used molecular techniques to detect and identify rhinoviruses in air samples and in nasal mucus from building occupants.
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the air was used as a measure of exhaled breath and the supply rate of outdoor air.
There was a significant relationship between the detection of airborne rhinoviruses and the amount of stale indoor air, the investigators report.
Also, one rhinovirus present in the nasal mucus sample from an occupant with a cold proved to be identical to a rhinovirus collected on an air filter from the same building during the occupant’s illness, according to the report.
“These data suggest that lower ventilation rates and resulting increased carbon dioxide concentrations are associated with increased risk of exposure to potentially infectious droplets,” the authors conclude.
Associations Target UV Light, Safety
The Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Institute (ARI) has changed the name and scope of its Air Filters Product section, which is now called the Air Filtration and Ultraviolet Light Treatment section.
“Adjusting our scope to include manufacturers of ultraviolet light treatment equipment will help ensure that North American manufacturers of this equipment are positioned to be truly competitive in our global economy,” says Eric Brodsky, chairman of the section.
Also, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will begin funding research related to homeland security issues.
"We expect to do research and publish guidance on methods for dealing with chemical, biological and radiological attacks to serve our members and the public," says Lawrence Spielvogel, P.E., chair of ASHRAE's Presidential Ad Hoc Committee on Homeland Security.
ASHRAE will spend $2.3 million in fiscal year 2004-’05 on research, with $110,000 budgeted initially for projects related to homeland security issues. ASHRAE has been in contact with government and private groups to sponsor additional research in this field.