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Resolving Biological Air Pollutation in Your Home

In order to prevent or remove concentrations of mold, bacteria, and other biological pollutants, you first need to understand how these microorganisms grow. Biological contaminants thrive in moist environments. Bacteria, mold, fungi, and other such nuisances can grow out of control in such conditions. While warmth can also contribute, it is often the colder weather or air conditioning that can worsen the problem because as the air cools, it can hold less moisture, thus causing condensation to develop in potentially hidden areas. Cold windows, for example, can cause a collection of moisture and often grow mold around their perimeter. To...

Locating Biological Pollutants in Your Home

Biological air pollutants include mold, bacteria, fungi, as well as dust mites, insects, and their waste. All of these living (or once living) microorganisms can be harmful when breathed. When present in sufficient amounts, they can cause allergies, asthma, and other health problems. People who live with indoor air pollution of this sort are also more susceptible to viruses, as their immune systems are compromised by the damaging contents of the air. Many of these biological pollutants can lurk in the dark, in secret. People are often not aware that there is a problem until well after the biological contaminants...

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...

Types and Sources of Pollutants in the Home

Biological pollutants include microorganisms (alive or dead) and the waste created by living things (hair, dead skin, dried feces/urine, etc.). Biological pollutants are a major source of indoor air pollution, causing health problems that range from mild to severe. Biological air pollutants are able to travel through the air, through ventilation systems that do not utilize high-level filtration, and can even damage surfaces inside and outside the home. There are a number of places that are at high risk for creating or collecting biological pollutants. Bedding can collect shed skin, dust mites (that gravitate to areas of shed skin and...

Professional Help for Asbestos

Asbestos professionals receive special training specific to the safe removal and handling of materials contaminated with asbestos. Some companies offer testing, assessment of the needs of the situation, and removal of materials. If you have concerns about asbestos in your home, you should start by having an asbestos professional test the material you are worried about. Do not cut a piece off yourself or in any way disturb the potentially hazardous material as any disruptions can cause the asbestos fibers to become airborne. The professional will know how to properly sample the material without releasing asbestos fibers into the air....

Asbestos in your Home

If you have identified asbestos in your home (see our previous post about sources of asbestos), it may or may not needs immediate attention. If the material is intact and in good condition, it may not need to be removed. If the material has been cut, torn, or is showing signs of wear, you may need to have it removed or repaired. Check with a professional for recommendations. If a material containing asbestos is not suffering from wear and tear, you can usually leave it alone and just check it once in a while. Periodically look over the material carefully,...

Sources of Asbestos in the Home

Many homeowners worry about hazardous asbestos being present in some of the materials used to construct their home. If the home was built before the 1970s, it is possible that asbestos was used in the construction and can be dangerous. Of all the sources of indoor air pollution, asbestos is one of the few that can be fatal. This article looks at the potential sources of asbestos in the home. Asbestos is often found in insulation materials throughout the home. Paper tapes made of asbestos and asbestos blankets were often used for furnace ducts, boilers, and steam pipes. These materials...

Indoor Air Pollution: The Dangers of Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral fiber of impure magnesium silicate minerals. Prior to the 1970s it was used in a number of construction materials. It made a great fire retardant and insulator, especially around hot items like furnaces and wood-burning stoves. But once it was identified that asbestos exposure permanently and fatally damages the lungs, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of most asbestos products. In older homes, asbestos is most often found in shingles, millboard, pipe insulation, furnace insulation, floor tiles, textured paints, soundproofing materials, and coating materials. Whenever these materials are...

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick building syndrome is a phenomenon that occurs when individuals struggle with health concerns related to the time they spend within a building, such as at home or at work. Sometimes it occurs in a particular room or area, but the symptoms seem to clear when sufficient time is spent outside of that environment. Symptoms of sick building syndrome include dry or itchy skin, trouble concentrating, irritated or itchy eyes, headaches, throat irritation, coughing, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and breathing problems. There are no identifiable illnesses to explain the symptoms which recede when the person is away from the building. There...

Allergies and your HVAC System

Indoor air pollution is a serious problem especially for people with allergies. In fact, most of the time, the air indoors is more polluted than the air outside, due to dust, dust mites, bacteria, mold, and viruses. Studies indicate that the pollution is 2 to 5 times higher than with outdoor air. While some people may not believe this because the pollens outside can trigger their allergies, the truth is in the evidence. There are much higher quantities of various air pollutants in samples of indoor air than outdoor. With these indoor air pollution concerns, it is no wonder why...