BreatheEasyTO releases results of IAQ tests of public spaces

BreatheEasyTO has released the results of the first Toronto-wide testing of indoor air safety in more than 100 public spaces. The tests evaluate the risk of contracting an airborne illness such as COVID, colds or flu.

A survey conducted by Leger for BreatheEasyTO, a consortium of organizations measuring indoor air quality (IAQ), shows that 70 per cent of Toronto residents are concerned about catching a respiratory virus at work. Public transit, gyms, medical offices, restaurants, office spaces and retail stores were all cited as places of concern for residents.

In November 2022 BreathEasyTO performed a rapid air safety test using a tracer-sensor system developed by Poppy Health, in 119 Toronto locations covering more than nine million cubic feet of indoor space. The program measured how quickly each space cleared viruses and bacteria using effective Air Changes per Hour (ACH).

According to the results, 75 per cent of spaces tested had an ACH of six or greater, the equivalent of replacing the air in the room every 10 minutes. The U.S. Center for Disease Control guidelines suggest hospitals should maintain six ACH or higher to reduce the risk of respiratory transmission. However, the results show that ACH varies significantly in public spaces. For instance, a restaurant was measured at 4.7 ACH, a movie lobby was 5.2 ACH, and a pedestrian walkway was 3.1 ACH.

Testing in Toronto will continue until the end of 2022. Property owners, businesses and not-for-profit organizations can schedule a free rapid air safety test at