Moulds in dwellings: Health risks and involved species
ABSTRACT In industrialized countries the population spends 90% of its time in enclosed spaces. Since 1973, energy consumption for heating decreased on average by 36% per dwelling. Low-quality insulation, a fall in temperature and inadequate ventilation translated into high humidity in dwellings, which led to proliferation of moulds.
The allergenic, toxic and infectious effects of moulds on human health are documented. However, the potential dose/effect relationship between measured concentrations of indoor moulds and respiratory disorders often remains difficult to assess accurately. In several cases, fungi were demonstrated only as a promoter of health disorders. In a few cases (hypersensitivity pneumonitis, invasive fungal infections), the pathogenesis is without doubt due to environmental fungal exposure in a limited number of patients. On the other hand, the role of fungi was suspected but not proven for some well-defined pathologies, and some ill-defined health disorders, affecting large numbers of patients, such as the Sick Building Syndrome, rhinitis, sinusitis and conjunctivitis, as well as asthma and exacerbations of bronchitis. Eighteen fungal species, suspected of playing a role in public health, have been listed by the French Superior Council of Public Health. For each species, the proliferation conditions, type of substrates contaminated and heath effects reported in the literature are described.
The lack of standardization of measurements of concentrations of fungal species, the interactions with chemical compounds (formaldehydes), organic compounds (mycotoxins, endotoxins) and between species, makes the analysis of indoor fungal contamination complicated. The time has come to establish clearly a relationship between exposure to fungi and health disorders, rather than continuing to investigate factors related to the level of indoor fungal contamination.
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ABSTRACT: Indoor air quality has become a matter of growing interest, which is justified by the time spent inside by individuals and their potential exposure to a wide range of air contaminants. Indoor air contaminants are numerous (chemical, biological, physical) with many continuous or temporary sources linked to building characteristics and family lifestyle. The exposure of the population to these pollutants including sensitive individuals such as children, the elderly, immunocompromised patients can be substantial and knowledge is still limited. Indoor air quality whether for biological or chemical contamination depends on the sources of indoor and outdoor pollution and on ventilation conditions with the air exchange rate. Biological contaminants are numerous and diverse, mold, bacteria, viruses, pollen, allergens from cats, dogs, dust mites, cockroaches, etc. This paper aims at presenting some of these contaminants, their sources, levels and health effects. This review highlights the diversity and complexity of indoor biological contamination as well as the health effects. Measurement of exposure to these contaminants is complex, unreliable and expensive. In addition, in France few data are available concerning all indoor environments. More research is needed to improve measurement techniques and knowledge about exposure levels and heath impact.Archives des Maladies Professionnelles et de l Environnement 09/2014; 75(4):433–441. DOI:10.1016/j.admp.2014.05.004 · 0.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A literature search was performed to evaluate the current state of knowledge regarding housing quality in Italy and the adequacy of methods used to assess it. The simple adoption of current criteria required by national and local legislation for the evaluation of dwellings seems to be inadequate, because some crucial parameters, including radon testing and evaluation of accessibility are not considered. Also, current assessment methods have been used exclusively at the local level, and the health impact of housing quality in Italy has never been estimated. There is a strong need for more sensitive methods of evaluation of indoor environments, to be validated on large and representative samples. The authors discuss two possible alternative models which may ensure a multifactorial, holistic assessment of the quality of housing spaces, also by including an evaluation of psycho-social components.Igiene e sanita pubblica 08/2014; 70(4):411-422.
Article: Nanotechnology in Civil Engineering[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Nanotechnology is one of the most active research areas that encompass a number of disciplines, including civil engineering and construction materials. It seems to hold the key that allows construction and building materials to replicate the features of natural systems improved until perfection for millions of years. Traditionally, nanotechnology has been concerned with developments in most of the fields like microbiology, medicine, electronic, chemical, and materials sciences. However, the potential for application of many of the developments in the nanotechnology field in the area of construction engineering has been growing. The objective of this study is to review the role of nanotechnology in civil engineering applications. It also discusses the application of instruments to reach material properties of nano-scale. Furthermore, it has been observed that better understanding and engineering of complex structures made by cement, steel or composite materials at nano-level will definitely result in a new generation of construction materials with higher performance in strength, durability, and other properties.Electronic Journal of Geotechnical Engineering 01/2014; 19:4673-4682.