Biological Pollutants' Impact on Indoor Air Quality
- pollens, which originate from plants
- viruses, which are transmitted by people and animals
- bacteria, which are carried by people, animals, and soil and plant debris
- household pets, which are sources of saliva and animal dander (skin flakes)
- droppings and body parts from cockroaches, rodents and other pests or insects
- viruses and bacteria
- The protein in urine from rats and mice is a potent allergen. When it dries, it can become airborne.
- Contaminated central air handling systems can become breeding grounds for mold, mildew and other sources of biological contaminants and can then distribute these contaminants through the home
Health Effects from Biological Contaminants
Some biological contaminants trigger allergic reactions, including:
- hypersensitivity pneumonitis
- allergic rhinitis
- some types of asthma
Infectious illnesses, such as influenza, measles and chicken pox are transmitted through the air. Molds and mildews release disease-causing toxins. Symptoms of health problems caused by biological pollutants include:
- watery eyes
- shortness of breath
- 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.
Mold, dust mites, pet dander and pest droppings or body parts can trigger asthma. Biological contaminants, including molds 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