poor-indoor-air-quality

Indoor air pollution can make you ill!

What is indoor air pollution

Poor Indoor Air Quality occurs when gases or particles are present in very high concentration and it affects the comfort or the health of occupants. Poor IAQ may only be annoying to one person and at the extreme, it could be fatal to one or all of the occupants of a building. The amount of contamination will determine the level of health problems.

Indoor air pollution can cause major health problems. People who may be exposed to indoor air pollutants for the longest periods of time — children, elderly adults, and people with chronic illnesses — are often those most vulnerable to the effects of indoor air pollution.

Not everybody gets affected by poor IAQ. Some people are more sensitive than others, it is the people that are more sensitive that lands up in hospital with upper respiratory infections, severe flu like symptoms, pneumonia, asthma and eczema.

Tight Building Syndrome

In recent years new houses and office buildings have been designed to be energy-efficient with little natural cross ventilation. Security issues in South Africa forces us to keep our doors and windows locked and as such do not provide fresh air to enter into our buildings.

As advantageous as the energy and security designs seemed to be originally, hidden problems have been surfacing. Tight building syndrome is characterized by occupants complaining of specific health complaints common in these building investigations.

Health issues caused by poor indoor air quality

aeramax_dx95 air purifier
Aeramax DX95 with Hepa and Carbon Activated Filters reduce mold and VOC indoor contamination

Signs and symptoms of the sick building syndrome are as follow:

Headache, dizziness, nausea, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry cough, dry or itching skin, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, sensitivity to odours, hoarseness of voice, allergies, cold, flu-like symptoms, increased incidence of asthma attacks and personality changes.

Most of the complainants report relief soon after leaving the building, although lingering effects of neurotoxins can occur.

What are the signs of indoor air pollution?

Signs of air trouble

  • Mold and mildew and the accompanying smell
  • Unusual and noticeable odours, stale or stuffy air.
  • Clear lack of air movement.
  • Excessive humidity. A relative humidity of 30% to 50% is generally recommended for homes. Remove standing water, water-damaged materials, and wet surfaces. These can serve as a breeding ground for molds, mildews, bacteria, and insects.
  • Health reaction after:
    • building renovation,
    • moving into a new building,
    • buying new furniture,
    • or using household or hobby products.
  • Feeling healthier when you go away for a couple of days but get ill on your return.

 

Where is this pollution coming from?

Chemicals

The most common contaminant of indoor air includes:

  • volatile organic compounds (VOC). The main sources of VOC are adhesives, tile glues, upholstery, carpeting and glues, copy machines, manufactured pressed or laminated wood products, pesticides, cleaning agents, etc.
  • Environmental tobacco smoke, respirable particulate matter,
  • combustion by products from stove, fireplace and unvented space heater also increase the chemical contamination.
  • Synthetic fragrances in personal care products or in cleaning and maintenance products also contribute to the contamination.

 

Biological contaminants

The biological contaminants includes:

  • Damp buildings causes mold that gives off mold spores and gasses and they can cause severe health problems.
  • pollen, bacteria, viruses, etc. These contaminants can breed in stagnant water that has accumulated in humidifiers, drainpipes and ducts or where water has collected on ceiling tiles, insulation, carpets and upholstery.
  • Rat, insect and bird droppings can also be a source of biological contamination. Biological contamination causes fever, chills, cough, chest tightness, muscle aches and allergic reactions.
  • In offices with a high density of occupancy, airborne diseases can spread rapidly from one worker to another. Air-conditioning systems can recirculate pathogens and spread them throughout the building.

 Sources of poor indoor air quality

General

  • Don’t allow smoking in your house.
  • Painting a house will result in high levels of VOCs
  • Laminated flooring results in high levels of VOCs
  • Wet carpets promotes bacterial and mold growth
  • Rising damp will promote mold growth in skirting boards, cupboards and wardrobes.
  • Any organic material resting against a damp wall will result in mold growth
  • Test for radon.
  • Keep moisture under control.
    • Humidity leads to growth of living pollutants.
    • High humidity leads to condensation – leads to mold growth
    • Structural damp – leads to bacterial and mold growth

 

Bathroom

  • Personal care products and air fresheners can give off gases.
  • Cleaning materials gives of gas
  • Toilet water aerosolisation
  • Poor plumbing will provide gas emissions from down pipes

 

Bedroom

  • A cold mist humidifier or vaporizer can promote the growth of living pollutants.
  • New bedding or matress
  • Poor hygiene on bed clothing results in bacterial and dust mite growth both these can be highly allergenic.
  • Perfumes and other hygienic products contributes to poor indoor air quality
  • High humidity due to lack of ventilation – leads to growth of mold and bacteria
  • Pressed wood and laminated boards are sources of formaldehide

 

Living areas

  • aeramax_dx55 air purifier
    Aermax DX 55 Hepa & Activated Carbon Filter removes mold and chemical gasses

    Paneling or pressed-wood furniture may release formaldehyde gas.

  • Carpets can give off gases when new and host living pollutants when wet.
  • Vacuum carpets and sofas to curb dust mites. Dust mites are an asthma trigger.
  • New draperies may have a formaldehyde-based finish.
  • Fireplaces create CO and other combustion pollutants.
  • Gas heaters create CO and combustion pollutants.

 

Kitchen & Laundry

  • Household cleaners give off VOC’s that are unsafe or irritating vapors.
  • Moisture from cooking and washing leads to humidity. Humidity results in bacteril and mold growth.
  • Unvented gas stoves and ranges raise the risks of CO and combustion byproducts.
  • Unvented clothes dryers promote moisture, living pollutants, and dust. Vent

 

Garage

  • Engine exhaust carries CO and combustion byproducts.
  • Paint and solvents.
  • Pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Fuels and cleaning materials.
  • Wet materials

 

What can you do about it?

 Remove or limit the source

We are able to manage the sources of VOC’s as well as organic materials providing bad indoor air quality as follow:

  • maintenance of HVAC systems,
  • replacing water-stained ceiling tiles and carpets,
  • using stone, ceramic or hardwood flooring,
  • proper water proofing,
  • avoiding synthetic or treated upholstery fabrics,
  • minimizing the use of electronic items and unplugging idle devices,
  • venting contaminants to the outside,
  • storing paints, solvents, pesticides and adhesives in close containers in well-ventilated areas and using these pollutant sources in periods of low or no occupancy.
  • Allowing time for building material in new areas to off-gas pollutants before occupancy
  • and smoking restrictions are some measures that can be used.

 

Increase cross ventilation

  • Install air bricks above every door way and in every room with an exterior wall. Corner rooms will have 2 air bricks, one on each exterior wall.
  • Install extractor fans in kitchens, laundries and bathrooms – this will reduce humidity
  • The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems should be designed to meet ventilation standards (8.4 air exchanges per 24 h).
  • The HVAC system should be operated and maintained properly to ensure that the desired ventilation rates are attained.
  • If there are strong pollutants, the air may need to be directly vented to the outside. This method is especially recommended to remove pollutants that accumulate in specific areas such as rest rooms, copy rooms and printing facilities.

 

Air Purifiers

It is not always wise to install air bricks, outdoor air pollution in certain cities are severe. Johannesburg was rated the 85th worst air polluted city in the world in 2016. Some of our buildings are close to industrial sites. In these instances we install air purifiers.

Air purifiers are appliances that aid in removing pollutants from air. They are very helpful devices for people who suffer from bad health effects of indoor air quality pollution.

Hepa Air Filter

Air purifiers have HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters that aid in cleaning the air around that is circulated. They help get rid off pollutants and impurities from the air. It is possible for the HEPA filter to remove about 99.9% of dust particles bigger than 0.3 microns (the standard measure for microns). HEPA filters can clear the air of dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke and almost all pollutants present in the air.

Activated Carbon Filter

Adding an Activated Carbon Filter to the air purifier assist in removing particles smaller than 0.3 microns. In air filters, the activated charcoal adsorbs many types of VOC’s and pollutants, leaving the resulting air fresh and clean. For those who suffer from allergies, asthma, or other breathing problems, activated charcoal air filters could be the best investment you ever make. They’ll create a marked improvement in your home, enhancing your quality of life and helping you breath easier.

 

You are able to source these Air Purifiers from Mold Detection SA shop

mold-illness

Every mother should know this

 

Health, happiness and prosperity that is what we all strive for. It is in health department that mothers suffers the most.  I have seen mothers sitting hours at doctors and hospitals where their children’s chests are so closed up and the wheezing and the coughing is terrible. Millions of mothers dread it when their children fall ill. What if I tell you that they might have been affected by something different than flu; and that the prescribed medicines makes them more ill.

We hate it when our children are wheezing for breath, coughing their lungs out or have terrible fevers. Night times we dread, this when the symptoms are  at its worst.

It is hard work to be a mother. They try their best for their kids all the time, it has been said that the quality and quantity research they do to keep their children happy can earn them doctors degrees. You don’t need to do the research here, we have done the research for you.


How do we know our kids don’t have flu?

You are constantly visiting doctors and hospitals with a sick child. They do not get better and the prescribed medicines does not work. In fact their conditions deteriorates. We are pulling our hair out in frustration.

Listen carefully!!!! Every mother should now this!!!
One of the most common mold and poor indoor air quality exposure symptoms is having severe flu or pneumonia symptoms that does not get better.  Severe flu symptoms should only last 10 days maximum and the medicines provide by doctors should clear up the flu quickly. The other symptom is continuous asthma attacks or early onset of asthma. Read more about mold and health.


Indoor Air makes us Ill

Did you know that the air inside our homes are poisoning us? Did you know that more than 1 million people every year die of indoor air quality related problems? Did you know that the air in our homes can be 5 times more polluted than the outside air. These figures have been verified by the WHO (World Health Organization). Thousands of people are killed every year by poor indoor air quality and this is even more than the number of people killed by Ebola.


What is in the air that makes us ill?

Our buildings have been built so tight with very little cross vantilation. Gasses and microbial contaminants are trapped inside our houses. These gasses and microbial contaminants are (VOC’s) Volatile Organic Compounds – slow releasing chemical gasses given off by virtually every thing in your house and then we have mold that releases spores and gasses into the air. Both these air pollutants will give your child and your family exactly the same symptoms than flu, laryngitis, bronchitis and pneumonia, it will aggravate asthma and can induce early onset of asthma in children. Read more about the health affects in children


Easy way to fix this

We discuss solutions for all of these problems,:

  • how to remedy the poor indoor air quality,
  • We need to have the doctors test us for VOC and mold infections Read More
  • and the doctors should treat our children accordingly.
  • We need to fix the house …. read more.

How do I know this.

I had severe flu and pneumonia that lasted 9 months. I saw a number of doctors, used a number of prescription medicines and eventually realized none of the help. I wasn’t getting was any better. My wife, the doctors and the physios all thought I was going to die. I was desperate and I was getting worse by the day and a physiotherapist eventually helped me. It was only two years later that we realized that the indoor air quality nearly killed me. I have subsequently become a mold inspector and mold remediator. This lead me to become an indoor air quality inspector.  This is 5 years later and I have realized the following:

  • Our children can get better quicker – read more
  • We can fix our houses – read more
  • We can fix the air we breathe – read more
  • Doctors do not have enough knowledge on indoor air pollutants and the illnesses it cause
  • Doctors daily diagnose us wrong
  • the prescribed medicines make our conditions worse
  • Scientists have not research this subject enough
  • there are not enough funds to research mold and indoor air quality.

Please share this article with as many people as possible

We can save thousands of childrens lifes

Toxic Black Mold

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Most of the molds we find in our buildings are black or appear to be black. They can be in the shower, behind wardrobes and cupboards, on ceilings and even on walls. They have no discretion where they grow, we can even find mold on our clothes and shoes.

Stachybotrys chartarum is the type of mold often called toxic black mold. These stachybotrys molds grow on high cellulose material such as wood, wicker, hay, paper and cardboard. This mold requires very wet or high humid conditions for days or weeks in order to grow. Important, it does produce allergens and irritants.

Black Mold

However, we find many other types of black mold in our buildings that can produce allergens and irritants. Most common molds found in South Africa are  Aspergillus, Cladesporium and Penicilium. I have inspected many homes in South Africa where the inhabitants got extremely ill from them. In my opinion you need to treat all molds with caution – stay out of affected areas and don’t touch or disturb the mold.

Toxic Health Standards – there is almost none or the scientists are to scared to make a call.

Currently legislation is pending in the United States Senate that would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act by setting up perimeters for mold. The United States Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act, or the “Melina Bill,” calls for research, education programs, victim assistance and guidelines and standards for preventing indoor mold growth and removing it.

Situation in South Africa – no mold policies or standards, no law and very few doctors that know how to treat you.

How Do I Tell If It’s Toxic Black Mold?

Mold grows where there is moisture and organic food. Black mold loves to grow in showers, behind cupboards and wardrobes, wet ceilings and walls, it loves basements and underfloor cavities.  Only through a professional mold inspection, where  surface sampling and air sampling is done, can one determine if you have toxic black mold. Mold growth goes hand in hand with damp problems and Toxic Black Mold (Stachybotris) needs a lot of moisture to grow.  A number of black molds are allergenic when it is in an overabundance in the air. Since many types of black mold can cause severe health reactions, you should contact us regardless of the color or type of mold.

 

Symptoms Associated With Black Mold

Most of the times we inhale these mold spores and mold gasses. People with allergies or other respiratory ailments are at the most risk of suffering from mold in a home, although infants and children, the elderly, and those with immune compromised systems are also at risk of developing symptoms. Read more

Mold inspection

If you have any doubts about the conditions in your home please make sure you contact us. They have the testing equipment and the certified knowledge of how to get rid of any potential issues properly.

Just because you cannot see something does not mean it is not there so use all of your senses and trust your instincts.

Our Mission

Please share if you found this article helpful. 

Our mission is to spread this information (mold can make you ill) to millions of people. Most people and young parents does not know why they or their kids are continuously ill and are not getting better. Most of these individuals can get better using the above advice.

Thank you for spending time in reading this article.

Remember to share  with your friends if this article was helpful

air-pollution-deaths

Mold pollutes indoor air

 

Indoor air quality or pollution can be 5 times worse than outdoor air quality. Mold hand in hand with VOC (volatile Organic Compounds) are some of the more dangerous pollutants inside our homes or offices and can make you very ill.

Just take a look at where sunlight is coming through a window.  Floating up and down in the air you will see dust, flooring fiber, dust mites, and even dead skin. Worse than what you do see is the stuff you can not see; mold spores, mold gasses, VOC’s Volatile Organic Compounds), bacteria, viruses, microbes, and particles too fine to be seen. This is the stuff that will end up in your lungs and can make you sick.

The world Health Organization has published a report on Damp Buildings and preventing Mold. This report states that indoor air quality is affected adversely when there is building structural dampness and mold growth inside a building. It further states that mold air pollution can cause early onset of asthma and that it can definitely bring on flu, pneumonia, sinusitis and other upper airway health problems.


 

What is mold?

Mold spores can be found basically everywhere in nature. Mold is a decaying catalyzer.  Lets use compost as an example. Mold spores will settle on dead or alive organic material (wood, leafs, dust, drywall, etc) and will start eating it. During this process it will cause the organic material to rot. Mold now turns the organic material into compost and the compost will be the nutrients of tomorrows new organic growth.


Mold Air Pollution

RegisterMold spores are incredibly small. In fact mold spores can be 40 times smaller than the hair thickness of a babies hair (40 microns). A one micron mold spore takes 4 hours to settle out 1 meter in windless conditions and in the right conditions it can stay in the air almost for ever.

More than 1,000 mold spores can fit on a needle head. How many mold spores is there then on a A4 size paper? Mold growth the size of a normal A4 paper will release thousands of mold spores into the air everyday and will pollute indoors. Even smaller patches of mold growth can affect a persons health. Studies also shows that mold produces toxic gasses during the decay process and that these gasses also affects human beings. How do we deal with this? We remove the pollution with Hepa Filter Air Purifiers and we kill the mold.


How do we get ill from mold?

So when mold settles on us (we are also organic) it wants to eat us or cause us to decay. In normal circumstances this is not a problem and our immune system and natural defenses can handle the normal day to day exposure. It becomes aproblem where there is an overabundance (pollution) of mold spores. Our immune system can not handle this and the mold spores causes inflammation in our bodies.

How do we heal us? We remove the pollution with Hepa/Carbon Activated Filter Air Purifiers and we kill the mold. We also discuss the mold infection with our doctors and we get treated for allergens.


Mold Clean Up

It is most important to remember that mold pollutes the air. We need to remove the air pollution by using Hepa/Carbon Activated Air Purifiers. These air purifiers does the following:

  • Hepa Filter – Removes mold spores, pollen, dust, dust mites – i.e all air pollutants as small as 0.3 microns
    • High efficiency particulate air filters, known as HEPA filters, remove allergens and other unhealthy particles from indoor air. This is especially helpful for people who suffer from mold allergies, hay fever, sinusitis, or asthma, and research points to these filters also helping those with cardiovascular diseases in some cases. Shoppers can find HEPA filter air purifiers in different sizes to match the sizes of the rooms where they spend the most time.
  • Carbon Activated Filter – Removes molds poisonous gasses  even VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) from inside the buildings
    • Activated carbon works by adsorption – the process by which a gas bonds to the surface of a solid. When air passes through the filter the chemical gases and odors will react with the carbon and effectively stick to it. The clean air then flows out of the system.
  • Combination of these two filters – Use of these air purifiers can totally stop sick building syndrome

Secondly we need to remove the mold. We provide professional mold detecting, cleaning and remediation services and we have DIY mold cleaning recipes for you. Remeber mold clean up is dangerous work. Read more


Our Mission

Please share if you found this article helpful. 

Our mission is to spread this information (mold can make you ill) to millions of people. Most people and young parents does not know why they or their kids are continuously ill and are not getting better. Most of these individuals can get better using the above advice.

Thank you for spending time in reading this article.

mold-on-jacket

High Humidity Causes Mold Growth!

High indoor humidity levels can lead to costly and unsightly mold contamination problems and can lead to serious health problems. Mold requires moisture and organic material to grow and where we have high humidity levels mold will proliferate. We live in a country where our wet winters in the Cape Province causes very high humidity levels resulting in massive amounts of condensation on the inside of buildings. Our hot rainy summers  in coastal areas cause fast evaporation of moisture and very high humidity levels in buildings as well as outdoor.

Our buildings are constructed with low vapor and air barriers, this allow high levels of outside conditions to permeate to the inside of the buildings. We have brick walls that virtually never dries due to our construction mistakes we make. This adds to the high levels of humidity inside of our homes.

Given our security conditions in South Africa, we close windows and doors and our buildings does not ventilate naturally.

We further do not install air bricks, or we close them up, this prevents natural cross ventilation and humidity is trapped inside our homes.

We also install our appliances inside our kitchens that is not vented to the outside, these give off vast amount of humidity. We like long showers and hot steamy baths and we do not put extractor fans in our bathrooms, resulting in high humidity.

 

The key to mold growth is moisture. Mold can grow on a food source in 24 to 48 hours if the material remains wet. So the best way to prevent mold is by keeping your home dry.

 

How do I know we have high humidity levels in a building?

In winter you will find condensation forming on the windows.

You will find that your clothing, bed sheeting and curtains feels damp to the touch.

You start seeing mildew, a type of white fluffy mold, growing on clothing and in drawers.

We will also detect a earthy smell on clothing and on entering a building that has been closed up for a couple of days you will smell the mold caused by high humidity.

Another sign of high humidity is your washing does not want to dry.

Curtains hanging against windows suck up condensation from the windows and grows mold.

 

How do I reduce High Humidity Levels?

The key to reducing mold is good moisture control. Household humidity levels should be maintained between 30% and 50%. Mold thrives in humidity levels higher than 55%.

Buying a hygrometer and measuring the humidity is a start in managing the humidity in your building.

2ndly, maintaining low humidity naturally in coastal areas is almost impossible. Most people try to install air bricks to lower humidity inside the building. The problem lies in the high humidity outside the building flows inside the building resulting in high humidity inside and outside the building.

Install de-humidifiers, it is an essential piece of equipment in coastal areas.

The best humidity and mold removal solution

zambeziThe best way of dealing with high humidity inside a building is removing it with a De-humidifier. Most of the new De-humidifiers use very little electricity and switch off when the targeted humidity is reached. De-humidifiers can be installed against the walls and an outlet pipe can pipe the water captured from dehumidification to the outside of the building. De-humidifiers also assist in speeding up the drying time of drying washing indoors.

Our top of the range Zambezi De-humidifier includes features that can kill mold up to 10m from where you place the de-humidifier. Always remember the air has also been polluted and the mold polluted air makes you ill. The  Zambezi De-humidifier not only removes the humidity but is an excellent mold killer.

Contact us today to do a professional mold assessment or mold clean up.