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Industry Joins ASHRAE to Petition WHO for New Humidity Guidelines

June 22, 2020
SIGN THE PETITION: Manufacturers support ASHRAE call for lower RH limits to reduce respiratory infections.


OSLO, NORWAY (June 11, 2020) --  Condair and Airthings are supporting Dr. Stephanie Taylor, in her petition to have the World Health Organization (WHO) review the evidence related to indoor humidity and health, and set guidelines on a minimum lower limit for public buildings.

Dr. Taylor is an infection control consultant at Harvard Medical School, a member of the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Group, and her petition can be accessed here.

"The scientific and healthcare communities are urging the WHO to recommend a change in building codes. The petition puts the link between indoor air humidity and the transmission of viruses such as influenza at the front of the global health debate. Requesting that the WHO produce clear guidelines on the minimum lower limit air humidity in buildings would contribute to reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses and protect people globally," said Oliver Zimmermann, CEO of Condair Group AG.

The current virus crisis shows us just how vital it is that we place management of the built environment at the very center of disease control. Many scientific studies have demonstrated that the ideal indoor humidity level of between 40-60% RH will reduce the spread of respiratory infections. Yet no regulations exist in most countries around the world that make this level a necessity for air treatment systems in buildings where people congregate or work.

Even in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and long-term care facilities, where infectious people come together with the most vulnerable, there is no requirement to maintain air humidity at a level that has been shown to be an effective infection control mechanism.

Condair is committed to making interiors a safer place and we have been exploring and sharing the science behind the health benefits of 40-60% RH for years. We hope Dr. Taylor’s petition gets the attention it deserves at the WHO and that they produce an IAQ guideline on a minimum lower limit of humidity. This would encourage regulators around the world to review and update their currently inadequate IAQ standards. A simple change that could reduce the burden on society from seasonal respiratory illnesses, such as the flu, save lives, reduce absenteeism, and hugely benefit our economy and our nation’s health.

The 40-60% RH petition has also caught the eye of leading innovators in the indoor air quality technology space. Norwegian brand Airthings, which produces the top-selling indoor air quality monitors with Radon detection on the market, has partnered with 40-60% RH to help educate the public on the critical importance of indoor air quality monitoring and advocate for policy change that prioritizes humidity standards, ensuring the safety of occupants in all public spaces.

Airthings CEO Oyvind Birkenes, added: “It was an easy decision for Airthings to support the 40-60%RH petition, as we are acutely aware of the threats that poor humidity levels can inflict on our health. Airthings' mission is to increase awareness about the impact of indoor air quality, and help people protect their health through simple, affordable and accurate monitoring solutions. In this current time, people everywhere are spending more time indoors than ever before, making it especially pertinent to raise our standards of air quality regulation in public places worldwide. That’s what we hope to accomplish by supporting this initiative.”

The petition has also been supported by leading figures in the scientific and healthcare community. This includes a leading immunobiologist from Yale University, Prof Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, and Professor and Director of the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich, Prof Dr. Adriano Aguzzi.

The petition is available to be signed at https://40to60rh.com/.


Based in Ottawa, Canada, Condair Group has been the world's leading manufacturer of commercial and industrial humidification and evaporative cooling products for more than 65 years. With sales operations in 14 countries and distributors in over 45, Condair sets industry standards with regard to energy efficiency and hygienic solutions. 

Based in Oslo, Norway, Airthings is a global developer and manufacturer of both professional and consumer facing technology. These products have completely changed the way people monitor and analyze radon and other dangerous indoor air pollutants. Founded in 2008, the company’s products have made radon detection easy to deploy, accurate, and user friendly – all of which are current challenges with other solutions on the market. Airthings is on a mission to ensure people around the world take control of their Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) through simple, affordable and accurate solutions. 

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