June 2015
Indoor Environmental News
Texas Property Owners & Facility Managers Clean Up Flood Damage in Many Parts of the State 
May brought a series of powerful storms to large parts of Texas and the Gulf Coast.  Many regions experienced severe flooding that caused tragic deaths and widespread damage to people's homes, schools and businesses. 


Once the water receded, the arduous task of cleaning up the mess and repairing the damage began.  During flood cleanup, the indoor air quality of a building may appear to be the least of one's problems. However, failure to remove contaminated materials safely and to reduce moisture and humidity can cause serious long-term health risks for building occupants.


Standing water and wet materials are a breeding ground for microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria and mold. Many of these contaminants can become airborne and be inhaled causing disease and triggering allergic reactions long after the flood.


Moisture in a structure is an indoor air quality concern for a number of reasons, including:


* Microorganisms brought into a building during flooding may present a health hazard. These organisms can penetrate deep into soaked, porous materials and later be released into the air.


* High humidity and moist materials provide an ideal environment for the explosive growth of microorganisms that were already present in the home before the flood.


* In addition, long-term increases in humidity in a building can also foster the presence of large numbers of dust mites. Dust mites are a major cause of allergic reactions and are a known asthma trigger.


"While cleanup and repairs take place in Texas, there are a number of potential hazards people need to be aware of to prevent property damage from turning into health concerns," said Hollis L. Horner, President of Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc. "These include everything from microorganisms and lead-based paints to asbestos.  IEC's building science and indoor environmental quality experts provide testing for these types of contaminants and pollutants.  These services not only help to protect those tasked with cleaning and repairing flood damaged structures, but also helps to ensure the safety for all future building occupants."


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



High Humidity Levels in Water-Damaged Buildings Can Cause Dust Mite Problems

While today, many people recognize that a water damaged structure can quickly lead to indoor air quality concerns due to the presence of elevated levels of mold, far fewer know that moisture and high humidity levels can also lead to the explosive growth of dust mites.  


Dust mites feed on human skin scales that people shed as well as animal dander, fungi, bacteria and pollen.  Since they absorb water from the air and their environment and do not drink water, they thrive in warm environments with high humidity, as can now be found in water-damaged homes and buildings across Texas.


Although dust mites do not bite people, their body parts and droppings can cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma in individuals who are sensitive to exposure to their presence. In fact, many health experts believe that children's exposure to dust mites is likely an important factor in causing asthma in children who have not previously exhibited asthma symptoms.


Dust mites are tiny eight-legged creatures that are typically too small to see with the naked eye.  The only way to know if dust mite allergens are present in a home or other type of building is to have it tested.  The indoor environmental quality experts at IEC test for a wide range of known allergens and asthma triggers, including dust mites.  People who suffer from indoor allergies or asthma and live, work or go to school in a water-damaged property or building with elevated humidity levels should consider having the property tested.  


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