February 2015
Indoor Environmental News
Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP) & Exposure to Mold in Indoor Environments  
When a home or building suffers a water incursion or high humidity levels, mold can quickly begin to grow and impact the indoor air quality (IAQ). When this occurs it can create an indoor environment with elevated levels of microbial contaminants in the air that people breathe.


Elevated levels of mold can cause allergies, trigger asthma and result in infections in some people.  It can also cause a condition known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis or HP, a kind of lung inflammation that occurs in people who develop immune system sensitization to inhaled organic dusts. HP can sometimes be mistaken for pneumonia, but it does not improve with antibiotics for infection.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HP is also a concern for some workers.  The agency reports, "HP has been documented in workers in buildings with mold and bacteria contaminated air-conditioners (including spray-water cooling systems), and contaminated ductwork and filters. This lung disease has also occurred in workers who worked in water-damaged buildings with roof leaks, plumbing leaks, poorly draining condensation pans, and high indoor relative humidity."


"Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a potentially serious condition that can be caused by exposure to mold in homes, schools and businesses," said Hollis L. Horner, President of Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc. "While we are all exposed to mold on a daily basis because it is all around us, being exposed to high levels of it is not healthy.  For buildings with a mold problem, the solution is to identify the source of the mold and have it safely removed.  In addition, the moisture that allowed the mold to grow in the first place needs to be addressed or it will likely return.  At IEC, our professionals have the experience and access to advanced instrumentation that allows us to quickly identify and resolve these types of indoor air quality issues." 


People across Texas and the Gulf Coast that encounter problems with mold or other pollutants in their indoor environment can turn to the professionals at Indoor Environmental Consultants for solutions.


To learn more about IEC's indoor environmental quality testing and consulting services, 
 please visit www.iecinc.net, email ncancino@iecinc.net or call (877) 432-8378.



Texas Building Science Experts Share Information about Formaldehyde in Building Materials  

Formaldehyde is a chemical widely used by industry in the manufacture of building materials and numerous household products.  Its primary use is in the production of resins and as a chemical intermediate. Formaldehyde is also a by-product of combustion and can be found in cigarette smoke.


As far back as 1987, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) does classify formaldehyde as a human carcinogen and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has classified formaldehyde as a Toxic Air Contaminant. 


In many indoor environments, the most significant sources of formaldehyde are often from off-gassing of pressed wood products made using adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde resins. Pressed wood products made for indoor use include particleboard, hardwood plywood paneling and medium density fiberboard.  Medium density fiberboard is generally recognized as being the highest formaldehyde-emitting pressed wood product.  Formaldehyde is also released from some types of insulation, paints, coatings, lacquers and other materials.


Both short- and long-term health concerns can arise from people breathing formaldehyde that has off-gassed into their indoor environment.  Health effects due to exposure may include eye, nose and throat irritation; wheezing and coughing; fatigue; skin rash; severe allergic reactions and possibly cancer.  Elevated concentrations may even trigger an asthma attack in some asthmatics.  IEC's indoor air quality professionals provide testing for formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds to identify their presence.  If high levels are found, IEC can provide guidance on solutions to rectify the situation to ensure the air is healthy for all building occupants.   


To learn more about IEC's formaldehyde and other indoor environmental quality testing and consulting services, 
please visit www.iecinc.net, email ncancino@iecinc.net or call (877) 432-8378.