Air quality in Belgian hospitals is inadequate, consumer organisation says

Most Belgian hospitals are not adequately ventilated or do not have a sufficiently efficient ventilation system, according to research by the consumer organisation Testaankoop. The results of the investigation were presented to Belgium's Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

Testaankoop sent researchers with portable CO2 measuring devices to 25 major hospitals to monitor their air quality. Measurements were taken in the reception area, three waiting rooms, the cafeteria, corridors, lifts and toilets.

Only three of the 25 hospitals had CO2 levels below the 800 parts per million (ppm) limit recommended by the Belgian Superior Health Council. Seven hospitals had levels above 800 ppm, often as high as 1,000 ppm, in at least half of the rooms tested.

"We go to hospital to be treated, not to get sick"

A high CO2 concentration indicates that the air is insufficiently refreshed and is dangerous for patients' health. "We go to hospital to be treated, not to get sick," said Laura Clays, spokesperson for Testaankoop. "Healthcare institutions and our governments need to pay special attention to indoor air quality."

Testaankoop is calling on Vandenbroucke to take action. The government passed a law in 2022 to improve indoor air quality in enclosed places open to the public, such as hospitals, setting reference values and introducing a certification system. "Unfortunately, it seems that no executive decision has yet been taken," says the consumer organisation.



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