The key to mould control is moisture control. If mould is a problem, clean up the mould and get rid of excess water or moisture. Call Gary now 1300 233 485!
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Common biological contaminants include mould, dust mites, pet dander (skin flakes), droppings and body parts from cockroaches, rodents and other pests or insects, viruses, and bacteria. Many of these biological contaminants are small enough to be inhaled.
Biological contaminants are, or are produced by, living things. Biological contaminants are often found in areas that provide food and moisture or water. For example, damp or wet areas such as cooling coils, humidifiers, condensate pans, or unvented bathrooms can be mouldy. Draperies, bedding, carpet, and other areas where dust collects may accumulate biological contaminants.
Health Effects From Biological Contaminants
Some biological contaminants trigger allergic reactions, including hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis, and some types of asthma. Infectious illnesses, such as influenza, measles, and chicken pox are transmitted through the air. Moulds 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 occur only after repeated exposure to a specific biological allergen. However, that 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 grow 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.
Mould, dust mites, pet dander, and pest droppings or body parts can trigger asthma. Biological contaminants, including moulds and pollens can cause allergic reactions for a significant portion of the population. Tuberculosis, measles, staphylococcus infections, Legionella and influenza are known to be transmitted by air.
Reducing Exposure to Biological Contaminants
General good housekeeping, and maintenance of heating and air conditioning equipment, are very important. Adequate ventilation and good air distribution also help. The key to mould control is moisture control. If mould is a problem, clean up the mould and get rid of excess water or moisture. Maintaining the relative humidity between 30% - 60% will help control mould, dust mites, and cockroaches. Employ integrated pest management to control insect and animal allergens. Cooling tower treatment procedures exist to reduce levels of Legionella and other organisms.
- Install and use exhaust fans that are vented to the outdoors in kitchens and bathrooms and vent clothes dryers outdoors.
These actions can eliminate much of the moisture that builds up from everyday activities. There are exhaust fans on the market that produce little noise, an important consideration for some people. Another benefit to using kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans is that they can reduce levels of organic pollutants that vaporize from hot water used in showers and dishwashers.
- Ventilate the attic and crawl spaces to prevent moisture build-up.
Keeping humidity levels in these areas below 50 percent can prevent water condensation on building materials.
- If using cool mist or ultrasonic humidifiers, clean appliances according to manufacturer's instructions and refill with fresh water daily.
Because these humidifiers can become breeding grounds for biological contaminants, they have the potential for causing diseases such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis and humidifier fever. Evaporation trays in air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators should also be cleaned frequently.
- Thoroughly clean and dry water-damaged carpets and building materials (within 24 hours if possible) or consider removal and replacement.
Water-damaged carpets and building materials can harbour mould and bacteria. It is very difficult to completely rid such materials of biological contaminants.
- Keep the house clean. House dust mites, pollens, animal dander, and other allergy-causing agents can be reduced, although not eliminated, through regular cleaning.
People who are allergic to these pollutants should use allergen-proof mattress encasements, wash bedding in hot (130Â° F) water, and avoid room furnishings that accumulate dust, especially if they cannot be washed in hot water. Allergic individuals should also leave the house while it is being vacuumed because vacuuming can actually increase airborne levels of mite allergens and other biological contaminants. Using central vacuum systems that are vented to the outdoors or vacuums with high efficiency filters may also be of help.
- Take steps to minimize biological pollutants in basements.
Clean and disinfect the basement floor drain regularly. Do not finish a basement below ground level unless all water leaks are patched and outdoor ventilation and adequate heat to prevent condensation are provided. Operate a dehumidifier in the basement if needed to keep relative humidity levels between 30 - 50 percent.