The presence of certain mold and mold spores in structures can result in mild to severe health effects in humans and can deteriorate the structure of the dwelling, resulting in structural damage. Health effects include, but are not limited to: asthma, allergy symptoms, water eyes, sneezing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, sinus congestion, blurry vision, sore throat, dry cough, aches and pains, skin irritation, bleeding of the lungs, headaches, memory loss and fever. As humans vary greatly in their chemical make-up, so does the individuals reaction to mold exposure. For some people, a small number of mold spores can cause ill effects. In others it may take many more.
These Inspections are performed to the Standards set by one or more of the following organizations:
*Louisiana State Board of Home Inspectors LHI# 10025
*INFRARED BUILDING SCIENCE THERMOGRAPHER (IRC)
*EIFS / MOISTURE ANALYSIS Inspector (Damage Survey) Exterior Design Institute LIC#LA-10
*American Council for Accredited Certification, Council-Certified Microbial Investigator (CMI) & Council-Certified Environmental Thermography consultant
*ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS ASSOCIATION
*EMIA (EIFS Members Industry Association)
*ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) ACI#205770
*SPREI (Society of Professional Real Estate Inspectors)
What is a CMI?
A Council-certified Microbial Investigator (CMI) has earned the most respected certification in the field of microbial investigation.
To earn and maintain the CMI, every candidate must:
Demonstrate at least two (2) years of verifiable field experience in microbial investigation
Pass a rigorous, psychometrically rated examination based on broad industry knowledge rather than a course curriculum
Earn the unanimous approval of the CMI certification board
Re-certify every two years
Participate in 20 hours of professional development activities per year
Maintain the highest ethical standards
The CMI certification is accredited by the Council for Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB), a nationally recognized independent accreditation body. American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC)certifications are the ONLY designations in indoor air quality to earn CESB accreditation.
Contact: (800) 942-0832 firstname.lastname@example.org
EPA Guidelines For Contractors
Remediation Contractors should read the entire: The S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation
Repairs: If repairs justify the use of professional contractors, only those experienced with Toxic Mold Remediation should be retained. It would be prudent to verify that workers are qualified. (Check Certification and/or Technical Training) Mold Remediation Contractors should follow the guidelines published by the
EPA: Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. (EPA Document: 402-K-0 1-001 4/200)
The S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation
These documents should be reviewed by the Mold Remediation Contractor BEFORE work begins. The document can be downloaded at the following web site: www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/iaq/molds Any questions about guidelines should be resolved before remediation begins.
If moisture intrusion of the building envelope is apparent, then a Moisture Survey may be prudent.
Moisture Surveys should be performed only by qualified contractors. The Moisture Survey identifies the exact location of moisture intrusion, and may help to eliminate unnecessary repairs. Repairs to moisture-damaged roofing and/or wall cladding should be made as soon as possible to eliminate further moisture intrusion. Moisture intrusion due to plumbing leaks and/or deficient HVAC Systems (such as condensation) should also be repaired. If Air Handling Equipment is deficient and/or malfunctioning, then it should be examined by a qualified HVAC contractor. If Air Quality Analysis indicates higher levels of mold inside the building than outdoors, then it may be prudent to have the air handler and distribution ducts cleaned or replaced. The HVAC contractor should follow the guidelines set my the EPA.
These guidelines can be found in the document: "Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?" (EPA-402-K-97-002, October 1997) The document can be downloaded from the Internet at:
Biological Contaminants / Allergic Reactions
Biological contaminants include bacteria, molds, mildew, viruses, animal dander, cat saliva, dust mites, cockroaches, and pollen. Biological contaminants can trigger allergic reactions, including hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis, and some types of asthma. Molds and mildews release disease-causing toxins. Symptoms of health problems caused by biological pollutants include sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, dizziness, lethargy, fever, and digestive problems.
Allergic reactions in the form of acute response can occur with long term exposure as well as with a single dose exposure. A reaction may occur immediately upon re-exposure or after multiple exposures over time. As a result, people who have noticed only mild allergic reactions, or no reactions at all, may suddenly find themselves very sensitive to particular allergens.
Some diseases, like humidifier fever, are associated with exposure to toxins from microorganisms that can flow in large building ventilation systems. However, these diseases can also be traced to microorganisms that grow in home heating and cooling systems and humidifiers. Children, elderly people, and people with breathing problems, allergies, and lung diseases are particularly susceptible to disease-causing biological agents in the indoor air.
Ref. EPA - A Guide To Indoor Air Quality / Air Quality Information for Environmental Inspection
Until remediation and/or abatement of reported toxic molds, it would be recommended that occupants of the contaminated dwelling(s) to wear PERSONAL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT (PPE). Minimal personal protection equipment as determined by EPA is: N-95 face mask, eye protection, and latex gloves. (Ref Environmental Protection Agency, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, www.epa.gov/iaq/molds - 7/25/2001)
Samples were analyzed to determine the types(s) and approximate amount of fungal components present at the sampling location(s). The sample(s) analyses represent the conditions present at the time of the collection. The information provided may be used to help decide if additional investigation or remediation should be performed in the building.
Current Industrial Hygiene Standards and Protocols suggest that the following criteria be utilized when interpreting surface sample analysis.
Are the organisms present clinically known to present a health hazard to humans? The sampling conducted in these tests does not identify whether the mold (s) identified are alive or capable of causing disease. However, determining the type of mold (s) present is important when deciding what to do next.
Is the sampled area exposed to water or elevated humidity? Visible mold growth present due to water or humidity must be identified and resolved or the mold growth will likely continue.
Does anyone who lives (or will live) in the area sampled have health conditions that may place him or her at risk? A physician will have to determine whether or not individuals meet these criteria.
Remediation of toxic molds usually entails surface cleaning with detergent solution and/or the use of a fungicide. Abatement may also be appropriate. Abatement includes removal of some or all mold-affected components from the dwelling. Mold cannot survive without moisture. Therefore, eliminating the source of moisture is generally considered the first step in permanent remediation.
Several things must be considered prior to cleaning or removing visibly contaminated building materials.
Do not touch mold or moldy items with bare hands.
Do not get mold or mold spores in the eyes.
Do not breathe in mold or mold Spores.
Consider using PPE Equipment (PPE) when disturbing mold. The minimum PPE is an N-95 respirator, gloves &
Consult your physician prior to handling mold or moldy items if unsure of your health or the health of others in the property.
For areas of less than ten square feet that have been affected by clean water, surfaces with visible microbial growth need to be evaluated for their material composition and structural integrity. Cleaning and/or removal and replacement determination of visibly contaminated materials must be conducted in accordance with their moisture content and structural condition.
+ Structurally sound porous materials-such as carpet, carpet padding, upholstered furniture, drapes, wallboard, insulation, books and paper may be cleaned with a High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA) vacuum after the material has been thoroughly dried.
+ Structurally sound semi-porous materials such as wood building components, wood furniture, concrete, concrete block, brick and hard surfaced flooring materials may be cleaned by first vacuuming with a High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA) vacuum and then damp-wiped with plain water or with water and a detergent solution (except wood furniture and flooring, which should be cleaned with wood floor cleaner).
+ Structurally sound non-porous materials such as metal, plastic and glass may be cleaned by first vacuuming with a High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (HEPA) vacuum and then damp wiped with plain water or with water and a detergent solution.
Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
Basic Mold Cleanup
The key to mold control is moisture control. It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.
Ten Things You Should Know About Mold
1.Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
2.There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
3.If mold is a problem in your home, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
4.Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
5.Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
6.Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
7.Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
8.Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
9.In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting.
10.Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
Mold-Related Publications and Resources
A new EPA publication, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings (EPA 402-K-01-001, March 2001), is available via this web site as both an HTML file and as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file (5MB file size). The printed version should be available sometime in August 2001.
Asthma and Mold - Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma. People with asthma should avoid contact with or exposure to molds. Allergy & Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics (AAN/MA): (800) 878-4403; http://www.aanma.org
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI): http://www.aaaai.org
Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America: (800) 7ASTHMA; http://www.aafa.org
National Institute of Allergy tml and Infectious Diseases: http://www.niaid.nih.gov
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): (800) 480-2520; http://www.fema.gov mitigation website: http://www.fema.gov/mit publications on floods, flood proofing, etc.
Stachybotrys or Stachybotrys atra (chartarum) and health effects Consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website CDC's National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) has a toll-free telephone number for information and FAXs, including a list of publications: NCEH Health Line 1-888-232-6789. NCEH factsheets, questions and answers on Stachybotrys chartarum and other molds.
Homes and Molds
Biological Pollutants in Your Home
This document explains indoor biological pollution, health effects of biological pollutants, and how to control their growth and buildup. One third to one-half of all structures have damp conditions that may encourage development of pollutants such as molds and bacteria, which can cause allergic reactions -- including asthma -- and spread infectious diseases. It describes corrective measures for achieving moisture control and cleanliness. This brochure was prepared by the American Lung Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. EPA Document Reference Number 402-F-90-102, January 1990. Moisture control is the key to mold control, the Moisture Control Section from Biological Pollutants in Your Home follows: Moisture Control Water in your home can come from many sources. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors. Showers or even cooking can add moisture to the air in your home. The amount of moisture that the air in your home can hold depends on the temperature of the air. As the temperature goes down, the air is able to hold less moisture. This is why, in cold weather, moisture condenses on cold surfaces (for example, drops of water form on the inside of a window). This moisture can encourage biological pollutants to grow.
There are many ways to control moisture in your home:
Fix leaks and seepage. If water is entering the house from the outside, your options range from simple landscaping to extensive excavation and waterproofing. (The ground should slope away from the house.) Water in the basement can result from the lack of gutters or a water flow toward the house. Water leaks in pipes or around tubs and sinks can provide a place for biological pollutants to grow. Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawlspaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground. Be sure crawlspaces are well-ventilated. Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove moisture to the outside (not into the attic). Vent your clothes dryer to the outside. Turn off certain appliances (such as humidifiers or kerosene heaters) if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners, especially in hot, humid climates, to reduce moisture in the air, but be sure that the appliances themselves don't become sources of biological pollutants. Raise the temperature of cold surfaces where moisture condenses. Use insulation or storm windows. (A storm window installed on the inside works better than one installed on the outside.) Open doors between rooms (especially doors to closets which may be colder than the rooms) to increase circulation. Circulation carries heat to the cold surfaces. Increase air circulation by using fans and by moving furniture from wall corners to promote air and heat circulation. Be sure that your house has a source of fresh air and can expel excessive moisture from the home. Pay special attention to carpet on concrete floors. Carpet can absorb moisture and serve as a place for biological pollutants to grow. Use area rugs which can be taken up and washed often. In certain climates, if carpet is to be installed over a concrete floor, it may be necessary to use a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete and cover that with sub-flooring (insulation covered with plywood) to prevent a moisture problem. Moisture problems and their solutions differ from one climate to another. The Northeast is cold and wet; the Southwest is hot and dry; the South is hot and wet; and the Western Mountain states are cold and dry. All of these regions can have moisture problems. For example, evaporative coolers used in the Southwest can encourage the growth of biological pollutants. In other hot regions, the use of air conditioners which cool the air too quickly may prevent the air conditioners from running long enough to remove excess moisture from the air. The types of construction and weatherization for the different climates can lead to different problems and solutions. Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? - excerpt on duct cleaning and mold follows, please review the entire document for additional information on duct cleaning and mold. You should consider having the air ducts in your home cleaned if: There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system. There are several important points to understand concerning mold detection in heating and cooling systems: Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists. You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it. If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced. If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.
How to Prevent Duct Contamination
Whether or not you decide to have the air ducts in your home cleaned, committing to a good preventive maintenance program is essential to minimize duct contamination. To prevent dirt from entering the system: Use the highest efficiency air filter recommended by the manufacturer of your heating and cooling system. Change filters regularly. If your filters become clogged, change them more frequently. Be sure you do not have any missing filters and that air cannot bypass filters through gaps around the filter holder. When having your heating and cooling system maintained or checked for other reasons, be sure to ask the service provider to clean cooling coils and drain pans. During construction or renovation work that produces dust in your home, seal off supply and return registers and do not operate the heating and cooling system until after cleaning up the dust. Remove dust and vacuum your home regularly. (Use a high efficiency vacuum (HEPA) cleaner or the highest efficiency filter bags your vacuum cleaner can take. Vacuuming can increase the amount of dust in the air during and after vacuuming as well as in your ducts).
If your heating system includes in-duct humidification equipment, be sure to operate and maintain the humidifier strictly as recommended by the manufacturer.
To prevent ducts from becoming wet:
Moisture should not be present in ducts. Controlling moisture is the most effective way to prevent biological growth in air ducts. Moisture can enter the duct system through leaks or if the system has been improperly installed or serviced. Research suggests that condensation (which occurs when a surface temperature is lower than the dew point temperature of the surrounding air) on or near cooling coils of air conditioning units is a major factor in moisture contamination of the system. The presence of condensation or high relative humidity is an important indicator of the potential for mold growth on any type of duct. Controlling moisture can often be difficult, but here are some steps you can take:
Promptly and properly repair any leaks or water damage. Pay particular attention to cooling coils, which are designed to remove water from the air and can be a major source of moisture contamination of the system that can lead to mold growth. Make sure the condensate pan drains properly. The presence of substantial standing water and/or debris indicates a problem requiring immediate attention. Check any insulation near cooling coils for wet spots. Make sure ducts are properly sealed and insulated in all non-air-conditioned spaces (e.g., attics and crawl spaces). This will help to prevent moisture due to condensation from entering the system and is important to make the system work as intended. To prevent water condensation, the heating and cooling system must be properly insulated. Unresolved Issues of Duct Cleaning. Does duct cleaning prevent health problems? The bottom line is: no one knows. There are examples of ducts that have become badly contaminated with a variety of materials that may pose risks to your health. The duct system can serve as a means to distribute these contaminants throughout a home. In these cases, duct cleaning may make sense. However, a light amount of household dust in your air ducts is normal. Duct cleaning is not considered to be a necessary part of yearly maintenance of your heating and cooling system, which consists of regular cleaning of drain pans and heating and cooling coils, regular filter changes and yearly inspections of heating equipment. Research continues in an effort to evaluate the potential benefits of air duct cleaning.
Biological Pollutants in Your Home
1.What indoor biological pollution is;
2.Whether your home or lifestyle promotes its development; and,
3.How to control its growth and buildup.
Outdoor air pollution in cities is a major health problem. Much effort and money continues to be spent cleaning up pollution in the outdoor air. But air pollution can be a problem where you least expect it, in the place you may have thought was safest--your home. Many ordinary activities such as cooking, heating, cooling, cleaning, and redecorating can cause the release and spread of indoor pollutants at home. Studies have shown that the air in our homes can be even more polluted than outdoor air. Many Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, often at home. Therefore, breathing clean indoor air can have an important impact on health. People who are inside a great deal may be at greater risk of developing health problems, or having problems made worse by indoor air pollutants. These people include infants, young children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses.
What Are Biological Pollutants?
Biological pollutants are or were living organisms. They promote poor indoor air quality and may be a major cause of days lost from work or school, and of doctor and hospital visits. Some can even damage surfaces inside and outside your house. Biological pollutants can travel through the air and are often invisible. Some common indoor biological pollutants are:
Animal Dander (minute scales from hair, feathers, or 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 biological 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. 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, un-vented heaters, and air conditioners in our homes has increased the chances of moisture forming on 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. This percentage is likely to be higher in warm, moist climates. Some diseases or illnesses have been linked with biological pollutants in the indoor environment. However, many of them also have causes unrelated to the indoor environment. Therefore, we do not know how many health problems relate only to poor indoor air.
Water in your home can come from many sources. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors. Showers or even cooking can add moisture to the air in your home. The amount of moisture that the air in your home can hold depends on the temperature of the air. As the temperature goes down, the air is able to hold less moisture. This is why, in cold weather, moisture condenses on cold surfaces (for example, drops of water form on the inside of a window). This moisture can encourage biological pollutants to grow. There are many ways to control moisture in your home: Fix leaks and seepage. If water is entering the house from the outside, your options range from simple landscaping to extensive excavation and waterproofing. (The ground should slope away from the house.) Water in the basement can result from the lack of gutters or a water flow toward the house. Water leaks in pipes or around tubs and sinks can provide a place for biological pollutants to grow. Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawlspaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground. Be sure crawlspaces are well-ventilated. Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove moisture to the outside (not into the attic). Vent your clothes dryer to the outside. Turn off certain appliances (such as humidifiers or kerosene heaters) if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners, especially in hot, humid climates, to reduce moisture in the air, but be sure that the appliances themselves don't become sources of biological pollutants. Raise the temperature of cold surfaces where moisture condenses. Use insulation or storm windows. (A storm window installed on the inside works better than one installed on the outside.) Open doors between rooms (especially doors to closets which may be colder than the rooms) to increase circulation. Circulation carries heat to the cold surfaces. Increase air circulation by using fans and by moving furniture from wall corners to promote air and heat circulation. Be sure that your house has a source of fresh air and can expel excessive moisture from the home. Pay special attention to carpet on concrete floors. Carpet can absorb moisture and serve as a place for biological pollutants to grow. Use area rugs which can be taken up and washed often. In certain climates, if carpet is to be installed over a concrete floor, it may be necessary to use a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete and cover that with sub-flooring (insulation covered with plywood) to prevent a moisture problem. Moisture problems and their solutions differ from one climate to another. The Northeast is cold and wet; the Southwest is hot and dry; the South is hot and wet; and the Western Mountain states are cold and dry. All of these regions can have moisture problems. For example, evaporative coolers used in the Southwest can encourage the growth of biological pollutants. In other hot regions, the use of air conditioners which cool the air too quickly may prevent the air conditioners from running long enough to remove excess moisture from the air. The types of construction and weatherization for the different climates can lead to different problems and solutions. Maintain And Clean All Appliances That Come In Contact With Water. Have major appliances, such as furnaces, heat pumps and central air conditioners, inspected and cleaned regularly by a professional, especially before seasonal use. Change filters on heating and cooling systems according to manufacturer's directions. (In general, change filters monthly during use.) When first turning on the heating or air conditioning at the start of the season, consider leaving your home until it airs out. Have window or wall air-conditioning units cleaned and serviced regularly by a professional, especially before the cooling season. Air conditioners can help reduce the entry of allergy-causing pollen. But they may also become a source of biological pollutants if not properly maintained. Clean the coils and incline the drain pans according to manufacturer's instructions, so water cannot collect in pools. Have furnace-attached humidifiers cleaned and serviced regularly by a professional, especially before the heating season. Follow manufacturer's instructions when using any type of humidifier. Experts differ on the benefits of using humidifiers. If you do use a portable humidifier (approximately 1 to 2 gallon tanks), be sure to empty its tank every day and refill with distilled or de-mineralized water, or even fresh tap water if the other types of water are unavailable. For larger portable humidifiers, change the water as recommended by the manufacturer. Unplug the appliance before cleaning. Every third day, clean all surfaces coming in contact with water with a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide, using a brush to loosen deposits. Some manufacturers recommend using diluted household bleach for cleaning and maintenance, generally in a solution of one-half cup bleach to one gallon water. When using any household chemical, rinse well to remove all traces of chemical before refilling humidifier. Empty dehumidifiers daily and clean often. If possible, have the appliance drip directly into a drain. Follow manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and maintenance. Always disconnect the appliance before cleaning. Clean refrigerator drip pans regularly according to manufacturer's instructions. If refrigerator and freezer doors don't seal properly, moisture may build up and mold can grow. Remove any mold on door gaskets and replace faulty gaskets.
Clean mold surfaces, such as showers and kitchen counters.
Remove mold from walls, ceilings, floors, and paneling. Do not simply cover mold with paint, stain, varnish, or a moisture-proof sealer, as it may resurface.
Replace moldy shower curtains, or remove them and scrub well with a household cleaner and rinse before re-hanging them.
Controlling dust is very important for people who are allergic to animal dander and mites. You cannot see mites, but you can either remove their favorite breeding grounds or keep these areas dry and clean. Dust mites can thrive in sofas, stuffed chairs, carpets, and bedding. Open shelves, fabric wallpaper, knickknacks, and venetian blinds are also sources of dust mites. Dust mites live deep in the carpet and are not removed by vacuuming. Many doctors suggest that their mite-allergic patients use washable area rugs rather than wall-to-wall carpet. Always wash bedding in hot water (at least 130 F "one hundred degrees Fahrenheit") to kill dust mites. Cold water won't do the job. Launder bedding at least every 7 to 10 days. Use synthetic or foam rubber mattress pads and pillows, and plastic mattress covers if you are allergic. Do not use fuzzy wool blankets, feather or wool-stuffed comforters, and feather pillows. Clean rooms and closets well; dust and vacuum often to remove surface dust. Vacuuming and other cleaning may not remove all animal dander, dust mite material, and other biological pollutants. Some particles are so small they can pass through vacuum bags and remain in the air. If you are allergic to dust, wear a mask when vacuuming or dusting. People who are highly allergy-prone should not perform these tasks. They may even need to leave the house when someone else is cleaning.
Before You Move
Protect yourself by inspecting your potential new home. If you identify problems, have the landlord or seller correct them before you move in, or even consider moving elsewhere. Have professionals check the heating and cooling system, including humidifiers and vents. Have duct lining and insulation checked for growth. Check for exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens. If there are no vents, do the kitchen and bathrooms have at least one window apiece? Does the cook-top have a hood vented outside? Does the clothes dryer vent outside? Are all vents to the outside of the building, not into attics or crawlspaces? Look for obvious mold growth throughout the house, including attics, basements, and crawlspaces, and around the foundation. See if there are many plants close to the house, particularly if they are damp and rotting. They are a potential source of biological pollutants. Downspouts from roof gutters should route water away from the building. Look for stains on the walls, floor or carpet (including any carpet over concrete floors) as evidence of previous flooding or moisture problems. Is there moisture on windows and surfaces? Are there signs of leaks or seepage in the basement? Look for rotted building materials which may suggest moisture or water damage. If you or anyone else in the family has a pet allergy, ask if any pets have lived in the home. Examine the design of the building. Remember that in cold climates, overhanging areas, rooms over unheated garages, and closets on outside walls may be prone to problems with biological pollutants. Look for signs of cockroaches.
Where Biological Pollutants May Be Found In The Home
1.Dirty air conditioners
2.Dirty humidifiers and/or dehumidifiers
3.Bathroom without vents or windows
4.Kitchen without vents or windows
5.Dirty refrigerator drip pans
6.Laundry room with un-vented dryer
8.Carpet on damp basement floor
10.Closet on outside wall
11.Dirty heating/air conditioning system
12.dogs or cats
13.Water damage (around windows, the roof, or the basement)