South Florida Hospital News
Saturday September 19, 2020

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April 2006 - Volume 2 - Issue 10

Health Issues Related to Home and Business

For almost thirty years we have conducted numerous indoor air quality studies, which were promulgated by either employees’ complaints of the air they were breathing and their allergic affects reported or by homeowners who complain of allergies and chronic health effects so severe that their quality of life was highly impaired.

Indoor air quality issues may result from a number of problems: Bio-aerosols, Mold, Bacteria, Insects, or Insect dander. In home or commercial facilities it is not uncommon to find booklice or paper mites (A study in Germany found that approximately 1/3 of city dwellers tested were allergic to booklice). Dust mites are a common problem in most South Florida dwelling and occupational environments. High levels of dust mites are seldom seen in homes and offices with hard wood or tile flooring and leather furnishings.

On the other hand, our studies have noted that cluttered offices or homes with wall-to-wall carpeting and cloth covered furniture air samples are heavily latent with dust mites. As such a microbiologist finds it difficult to distinguish from the different particulates. (Mold, bacteria, dander, dust, etc.)

Room allergens can also come from chemicals used or stored within the dwelling or work place or from mycotoxins, which are chemicals produced by fungi (mold). Myco=fung. Some of these chemical mycotoxins are toxic as the word toxin implies. The cause of illnesses arising from indoor allergens or other indoor pollutants requires proper attention; otherwise, medical treatment may be compromised, extended, and unnecessary and may even be ineffective according to Dr. Jonathan M. Samer M.D., John Hopkins School of Public Health.

The air we breathe and the particulates and pollutants in that air are often dominated by indoor sources. Many of these sources are accepted without much thought: pets, carpeting, furnishing, household and office chemical, fabric softeners, scents and humidifiers. Potential for health effects from these items commonly found within a home or office may adversely impact the occupants’ health. This potential is often over looked by the occupant and their physicians.

My studies have noted through years of experience that problems caused by indoor allergens can be frustrating to say the least to the affected person and their healthcare providers were often unaware that the quality of the indoor environment may be connected with health and disease. It is common for a good health and safety professional, one, which is well versed in indoor air quality issues and inspections to work closely with allergist, pulmonary physicians and health care providers in an effort to locate the source.

I have consulted with pulmonologists concerning patients suffering from Aspergillosis, which usually requires lung surgery. Aspergillosis is a disease caused from Aspergillus mold, a relatively untreatable disease in which Aspergillus mold actually grows within the lungs. Aspergillus species is common to environments where moisture (water) intrusion has occurred.

Some physicians may not know that there is a need for and environmental consultation, therefore patients; occupants or employees who are suspect that indoor pollution is a problem may want to consult an indoor air quality health and safety professional on their own. It is also recommended that someone undergoing chemotherapy or has recently had a bone marrow transplant, or suffers from severe pulmonary diseases, may want to have an environmental impact study conducted prior to returning to their residential environments.

Maurice Baum, PIH, CHMM, CMI, is a Professional Industrial Hygienist, Certified Hazardous Materials Manager and Certified Microbial Investigator. Maurice sits on the faculty selection committee for indoor air quality studies at Florida Atlantic University. He has published numerous articles on the subject and can be contacted at (954) 967-0011 or via e-mail at Visit our web site for more information,
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