Air Pollution: bioaerosols
What are bioaerosols?
A healthy indoor environment is important to you and your family. This includes keeping the air free of biological contaminants, which can cause health problems. Scientists call these airborne contaminants bioaerosols.
Bioaerosols are extremely small living organisms or fragments of living things suspended in the air. Dust mites, molds, fungi, spores, pollen, bacteria, viruses, amoebas, fragments of plant materials, and human and pet dander (skin which has been shed) are some examples. They cannot be seen without a magnifying glass or microscope.
Can bioaerosols cause health problems?
They can cause severe health problems. Some, like viruses and bacteria, cause infections (like a cold or pneumonia). Others cause allergies. Both allergic responses and infections may be serious or even fatal. An allergic reaction occurs when a substance provokes formation of antibodies in a susceptible person. We call substances which will cause an allergic reaction in some people antigens or allergens. Bioaerosols may cause allergic reactions on the skin or in the respiratory tract. Rashes, hay fever, asthma (tightness in the chest, difficulty in breathing), and runny noses are common allergic reactions.
A few people develop a severe allergic reaction in the lung, which can destroy lung tissue. This is called hypersensitivity pneumonitis. It is not an infection, but repeated episodes can lead to infections of the lung, such as bacterial pneumonia.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis can be triggered by exposure to very small amounts of the allergen, once a person is sensitive to it. Symptoms can range from tightness in the chest, cough, and difficulty in breathing, to low-grade fever, muscle aches, and headaches.
What are sources of bioaerosols in the home?
are Molds, mildews, bacteria, and dust mites like the same conditions that we do--warmth and moderate to high humidity. They need little more than a constant moisture supply for survival. You may find bacteria, molds, and mildews in air conditioning equipment, humidifier reservoirs, dehumidifier drip pans, shower heads, toilets, and ice machines. Water damaged carpets, ceiling panels, walls, and paneling are prime sites for new growth if they are allowed to stay damp. When molds, mildew, dust mites, and bacteria are disrupted or release their spores into the air, this results in bioaerosol formation.Molds and mildews develop from spores, which are in the air all around you. As soon as spores settle in an a with the right conditions for growth, they establish