Microbial air pollution
Most of our life is spent indoors. Therefore, indoor air pollution may present a greater risk to human health than exposure to atmospheric air contaminants (LIS A. et al., 2001). One kind of indoor air pollutant is airborne microorganisms – bacteria and fungi (JONES A.P., 1999). They are factors of potential infectious, allergenic and immunotoxic effects. Indoor microflora is reported to be responsible for health problems, especially among children (DI GIORGIO C. et al., 1996). Bioaerosols decrease air quality and affect human health, also causing some diseases such as tuberculosis, diphteria, legionellosis, fever, rhinitis, nausea and asthma (MAUS R. Et al., 2001).
The activity of people and equipment within enclosed spaces is thought to be the principal factor contributing to the buildup and spread of airborne microbial contamination (GODDARD K.R., 1964). Another major emission sources of indoor microbiological pollutants are animals, plants, air conditioning systems, building materials, particles of soil and dust. A lot of these come from outdoor air, especially in summer and autumn (JONES A.P., 1999).
School facilities are densely populated, so it’s making the problem of maintaining good quality indoor environments more difficult (BAYER C.W., 2001). Poor indoor air quality causes in many cases illness requiring absence from school or can cause acute health symptoms, decreasing performance while at school. Children are more likely to suffer the consequences of indoor pollutants than adults, because they are still developing physically (BAYER C.W., 2001 and LIS A. et al., 2001).
It has been stated that especially the presence of moulds in indoor air of schools poses a serious risk to children. All moulds have the potential to cause health effects such as headaches, breathing difficulties, skin irritation, allergic reaction and aggravation of asthma symptoms (Mold Remediation, 2001). Epidemiological data suggest that mould exposure may increase the risk for asthma up to five-fold at school age (IMMONEN J., 2000). Richards noticed that asthma is the principal cause of school absences (up to 20% of lost school days in elementary and high schools) (BAYER C.W., 2001). Taskinen et al., (2000), proved that 14% of school children revealed a positive reaction to fungal allergens in skin prick tests and serum IgE reactions. Elevated occurrences of wheezing and fever in children was connected with high numbers of fungi in the air (JONES A.P., 1999).
To estimate a hazard of microbiological air pollution a number of fungi and various groups of bacteria indoors should be determined, as precisely as possible. In this study the level of microbial contamination in some education objects was estimated using a MAS-100 air sampler.
LIS A. Jakość mikroklimatu w salach przedszkolnych a warunki komfortu cieplnego i potencjał psychofizyczny przebywających w nich osób. Mat. konf. VI Ogólnopolskiej Konferencji: Problemy Jakości Powietrza Wewnętrznego w Polsce „Jakość powietrza w budynkach edukacyjnych”, Warszawa, listopad 2001.
JONES A.P. Indoor air quality and health. Atmospheric Environment, 33, 1999.
DI GIORGIO C., KREMPFF A., GUIRAUD H., BINDER P., TIRET C., DUMENIL G. Atmospheric pollution by airborne microorganisms in the city of Marseilles. Atmospheric Environment, 30, 1, 1996.
MAUS R., GOPPELSRÖDER A., UMHAUER H. Survival of bacterial and mold spores in air filter media. Atmospheric Environment, 35, 2001.
GODDARD K.R. Effect of ventilation on distribution of airborne microbial contamination – field studies. in: Proceeding of a Symposium „Surface contamination”, ed. B.R. Fish Pergamon Press, Gattlinburg Tennessee, 1964.
BAYER C.W.ASHRAE Looks at School IAQ. Western HVACR News, January 2001.
Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial buildings. The document of EPA Office of Air and Radiation, Indoor Environment Division 6609J, EPA 402-K-01-001, March 2001.
IMMONEN J., MEKLIN T., TASKINEN T., NEVALAINENE A., KORPPI M. Skin Prick Test findings in students from moisture and mould damaged schools: A three-year follow – up study. . in: Proceedings of Healthy Buildings, vol 1., ed. Seppänen O., Säteri J., Finland, 2000.
TASKINEN T., LAITINEN S., MEKLIN T., HUSMAN T., NEVALAINEN A., KORPPI M. Skin test and serum IgE reactions to moulds in relation to exposure in children. . in: Proceedings of Healthy Buildings, vol 1., ed. Seppänen O., Säteri J., Finland, 2000.