Environmental

Indoor Environmental Issues

Health effects of exposure to fungi within the indoor environment of dwellings and businesses have recently been front page news in major news papers and magazines. Fungal contamination in indoor environments presents unique challenges in assessing both occupant and worker health risks.

Mold assessment of dwellings and businesses are complicated by the enormous variety of molds, the ability of molds and bacteria to co-exist in some instances, the ever changing conditions in the dwelling or business such as moisture, temperature, and air circulation that can affect the building’s envelope and mechanical ventilation dynamics, and varied concentrations and components of the mold such as hyphal fragments.

Understanding the types and relative significance of actual health risks is critical to developing and implementing effective remediation methods that adequately resolve occupant health problems that result from occupying a mold-contaminated indoor environment.

Building Related Disorders

Two common building known disorders are Sick Building Syndrome and Building Related Illness. Sick Building Syndrome also known as SBS is a building disorder that describes unexplained illness among occupants within a building. The occupants typically complain of inflammatory symptoms of the eyes, throat, and nose; upper and sometimes lower respiratory tract symptoms, headaches, as well as fatigue, and cognitive changes, and finally difficulty with concentration and inattentiveness. When the occupants leave the building their symptoms improved however, when they returned the health symptoms also returned.

Building Related Illness also known as BRI has been used to describe medically recognized diseases for which specific diagnostic criteria and testing can confirm the presence or absence of the condition. Diseases in this classification were categorized as either, allergic/immunological, infectious, or toxicological.

“Building-Related Symptoms” (BRS) are the most prevalent occupant health complaints (runny nose, sore throat, headache, fatigue, difficulty in concentration). Most likely it is the etiology for fungal toxins or spore wall components.