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Exposure to airborne microbes during the repair of moldy buildings

Exposure to airborne microbes during the repair of moldy buildings

American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal 57(3): 279-284

ISSN/ISBN: 0002-8894

PMID: 8776199

DOI: 10.1080/15428119691015016

Concentrations of airborne microbes, studied during the repair of seven moldy buildings, showed that concentrations of airborne fungi increased during the repair work. This was especially true during the demolition of moldy building materials, even though the total dust levels remained low. Concentrations of viable fungi sampled with a six-stage cascade impactor were 10-3 - gt 1.9 times 10-5 cfu/m-3, and the total concentrations of fungal propagules, as determined by the Camnea method (i.e., air filtration method with epifluorescence microscopic counting of acridine-stained organisms) showed 10-5 - 10-6 counts/m-3 during the demolition. Penicillium was the main genus throughout. Concentrations of viable total bacteria also increased, but this change proved less noticeable than that of the fungi. However, rather high concentrations of viable actinomycetes up to 10-4 cfu/m-3 were detected during the demolition. Results show that construction workers are exposed to high concentrations of microbes, perhaps causing health problems. Thus, personal protection of both the respiratory system and eyes is strongly recommended for workers as they repair moldy buildings. In addition, the repair room should be isolated from other areas to protect occupants or any other people present.

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Accession: 002837557

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