CECO Environmental, the supplier of filtration systems to the U.S. military's chemical weapons destruction program, is calling on governments to implement higher standards for air ventilation systems in public buildings, including airports, subways, shopping centers and schools. The FBI has warned of the potential for the release of toxic chemicals, such as cyanide, into air handling systems of public buildings. Such systems have one or more fresh air intakes and a blower or similar device that moves the air through the ventilation system. "Currently many of these facilities have no effective filters at all in their ventilation systems," says Phil DeZwirek, CECO's chairman and CEO. "Ventilation systems generally are woefully outdated and there is nothing forcing contractors to upgrade them." The Building and Office Management Association (BOMA) has told its members that the release of a toxic chemical into an air handling system is a credible threat. "Any release would be spread throughout the entire system within five minutes or less" according to BOMA, which has advised its members to do all they can to make external fresh air intakes less accessible. While CECO recognizes that this is an important first step, it believes the air ventilation systems themselves must be protected. "We can do this today. CECO has had technology for years, including filtering systems that capture airborne biological agents," says DeZwirek.
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