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Can my house make me sick?

Can my house make me sick?

Under certain circumstances our environments can have a negative impact on our health so let’s look at ways to insure your house is a healthy place to live. 

Because significant numbers of people suffer from adverse health issues related to their homes and offices, medical and environmental professionals have specific terms for these situations. You may hear terms like SBS sick building syndrome, BRS building related illness, both descriptions are describing the same situation where a structure is causing people to become ill. 

Mold Infestations can cause adverse health effects however there are other potential problems that should be closely evaluated to keep your home healthy. 

High Humidity in homes is a common problem and can cause a wide range adverse symptoms that mimic toxic mold exposure.  Because modern houses are being designed and built more “air tight” with less air infiltration, they are more susceptible to humidity related problems. Current research suggests that children may be more susceptible to high humidity health issues such as a increased risk to develop asthma than adults, just high humidity, without a mold component.  Keeping your homes relative humidity levels within normal standards is an important element in maintaining a healthy environment. If humidity levels are left elevated for a prolonged period of time the home can easily become more prone to a wide range of fungus problems including mold. If a humidifier is used in your home it is important to ensure the humidification system is properly maintained. This means that the system is cleaned throughly on a regular basis. 

Allergens maybe present and can cause a wide range of adverse health issues and often go undiagnosed.  A previous occupant of your home may have had pets and left significant amounts of Pet Dander behind.  Pet dander is often discovered in carpet and  carpet padding. Dust mites can also cause adverse symptomology. Cockroaches and other Insect Infestations can also impact your homes environment negatively. 

Mold it a sub classification of fungi. Estimates vary wildly for the number of different types of mold that exist, some estimates suggest there may be over 100,00 different types of mold. Research indicates that children, the elderly and persons with immune compromised systems are more at risk to develop health issues with exposure to mold.  Recent research suggests a link between children that are exposed to high levels of mold at an early at are more at risk to develop asthma. 

Adverse Health Effects of a unhealthy home may include: Mycosis, Allergies, Asthma, Rhinitus, Sinusitus, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, Humidifier Fever, Mycotoxicosis. 

Air Quality is an important element in assessing your homes indoor environment. Poor air quality can play a major role in contributing and causing  adverse health issues.  Evaluating the HVAC System is component of a comprehensive building assessment. Duct Cleaning in a residential house is very controversial. Many Environmental Professionals recommend a proper building assessment be performed before any potential remediation work is performed especially duct cleaning.

If you think that your home may be causing or contributing to adverse health issues having a proper building assessment performed maybe a good first step by an Experienced Environmental Professional. There are various types of tests which can be performed which may include: Air Testing; HVAC Testing; Dust Testing; Surface Testing as well as a visual and building envelope assessment.  A home assessment may be performed in conjunction with medical treatment with a medical professional recommending specific types of molds or allergens which may be likely present.

 

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Tom Talen

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