What Are Some Common Indoor Biological Pollutants ?
VOCs Volitile Organic Compounds
Animal dander (minute scales from hair, feathers and skin)
Dust mite and cockroach parts.
Infectious agents (bacteria or viruses)
Some of these substances are in every home. It is impossible to get rid of them all. Even a spotless home may permit the growth of biological pollutants. Two conditions are essential to support growth, nutrients and moisture. These conditions can be found in many locations, such as bathrooms, damp or flooded basements, wet appliances (such as humidifiers or air conditioners), and even some carpets and furniture.
VOCs (Volitile Organic Compounds) are emmitted from a number of sources (paints, fuel, chemicals in furnishings and building material) and may be undetectable without testing.
Modern materials and construction techniques may reduce the amount of outside air brought into buildings which may result in high moisture levels inside. Using humidifiers, unvented heaters, and air conditioners in our homes has increased the chances of moisture forming on he interior surfaces. This encourages the growth of certain biological pollutants.
The Scope of the Problem
Most information about sources and health effects of biological pollutants is based on studies of large office buildings and two surveys of homes in northern U.S. and Canada. These surveys show that 30% to 50% of all structures have damp conditions which may encourage the growth and buildup of biological pollutants. The percentage is likely to be higher in warm, moist climates.
Some diseases and illnesses have been linked with biological pollutants in the indoor environment, however, many of them have unrelated causes. Therefore, we do not know how many health problems are a direct result of poor indoor air.
Health Effects of Biological Pollutants.
All of us are exposed to biological pollutants, however, the effects on our health depend upon the type and amount of biological pollution and the individual person. Some people experience one or more of the following reactions:
Except for the spread of infections indoors, allergic reactions may be the most common health problem with the indoor air quality in homes. They are often connected with animal dander (mostly from cats and dogs), with house dust mites (microscopic animals living in household dust), and with pollen, Allergic reactions can range from a simple flu-like symptom to mildly threatening, as in a severe asthma attack. Some signs and symptoms are:
Runny nose and sneezing
Wheezing and difficulty breathing
Health experts are especially concerned about people with asthma. These people have very sensitive airways that can react to various irritants, making breathing difficult.