Health Effects of Biological Pollutants

Every day in every home and building across the United States, people are exposed to biological pollutants. Even in clean air environments microorganisms are a natural part of life.  And surprisingly, in most buildings there is a higher concentration of air pollution than outside, where pollen and a number of other biological pollutants dwell.

Biological pollutants are not always a problem. In fact, a world without germs would be incomprehensible. We carry millions of tiny beneficial flora (microorganisms) inside our intestinal tract. There are tiny microorganisms that live on our skin.

Though biological air pollutants are a natural part of life, in many homes air pollution can contribute to the development of health problems. Air pollution can be toxic, leading to infections (both bacterial and viral) and triggering allergic and inflammatory responses.

Some of the symptoms caused by biological pollutants in the home include itching, sneezing, dry throat, stuffy nose, watery eyes, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, and even a severe asthma attack.

The most common sources of biological pollutants are dust mites, pollen, mold, and animal dander. They can also be caused by airborne illnesses and dirty heating or air conditioning systems.  We’ll discuss sources of biological pollutants in more detail in upcoming posts.

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