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Air Quality Assessors Blog


How To Know If Your Air Quality Is Safe
How To Know If Your Air Quality Is Safe


June is National Healthy Homes Month. This serves as a reminder of the importance of air quality in your home. Did you know that American spend nearly ninety percent of their time indoors on average? To thrive and stay healthy, it's vital to begin with adequate household air quality. 

 

The Risks of Poor Air Quality

If there are harmful substances in the house, like mold or any other organic or chemical pollutants (VOC's), health conditions can arise. Your symptoms could be as simple as nagging, persistent respiratory irritation. With repeated exposure, it can be as serious as cancer or cardiovascular issues. If there are children or immune compromised individuals in the household, it becomes that much more of a pressing issue. These groups are more likely to become negatively affected by poor air quality.


Know the Signs

There are some signs you can look out for to give you a better idea if you need to get the quality of your air tested. Is anybody in the home experiencing unexplained allergies or a sudden change in health? It could be a reaction to a pollutant in the house. Perhaps you've recently dealt with a flood or household leak and smell a musty odor, but you're not sure where it's coming from. There could be a mold issue lurking in an unseen spot such as behind the walls or underneath floorboards. Simply being curious about the overall safety of your home is reason enough to get your air tested!


Steps to Take

If you're concerned about the quality of your air and want to get it tested, there are options to consider. There are home testing kits available online which offer a convenient starting point. The most common kits test for mold, radon, and other VOCs. If your test results show poor indoor air quality, don't panic! There are different steps you can take immediately. You can ventilate the area, balance the humidity level with a dehumidifier, and change the filters on your furnace and air conditioner.


Why Call a Professional

Regardless of how bad your air quality issue is, it's always the best idea to get in touch with a professional as soon as you can. Air quality test kits can give you a general idea of the issue. However, you won't truly know the severity of the damage until an expert evaluates the problem at hand. Plus, if you don't understand the kit completely, you could get false results. From dust mites to tobacco smoke and pesticides, there are a lot of potential sources of pollutants in a home. This can make it hard to narrow down the source of the issue. 


Professional air quality assessors can accurately diagnose the problem and give you the best plan of action to fix the issue as soon as possible. You will feel great peace of mind when you're completely informed about the quality of the air in your home! Get in touch with a professional, such as Air Quality Assessors,  today for steps you can take to make sure the air is the best it can be for the health of your family.


The Worldwide Pest

The Worldwide Pest


“Penicillium”

1.       Penicillium is a genus of ascomycetous fungi of major importance in the natural environment as well as food and drug production. 

2.       Scientific namePenicillium

3.       RankGenus

4.       Higher classificationTrichocomaceae

5.       Lower classificationsPenicillium coralligerumPenicillium marneffei,Penicillium herquei

 

 

The pest I am going to tell you about is one of the most notorious creatures of its kind. This pest can be found all over the world in almost every type of setting. The most common places where this pest can be found are: soil, food, grains, carpets, wall paper, organic substances, fiber glass insulation and more. It loves to show up first to mark its territory on anything that has had water damage. There are over 200 species of this pest and some of them can produce mycotoxins (any toxic substance produced by a fungus), which is what affects humans health!

 

Want to know something unbelievable about this pest? This pest helped create a drug that is still used today to fight off infections that cause bacteria -Penicillin. Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming after one of his staphylococci cultures was cross contaminated by mold spores from an open window nearby. It was a significant discovery in medical history and later in 1945 even won a Nobel Peace Prize.

 

All right back to what makes this pest a pest! The Worldwide Pest has a rapid growth rate and the colonies (appearance) are normally a green-bluish color but has even been spotted as yellow, white and grey green. You do not want this mold in your home! It can cause a numerous amount of health issues ranging from the simple sore throat all the way to pulmonary emphysema. Like many other molds, the pest tends to affect humans that have a weakened immune/respiratory system. The Pest can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks so severe that sometimes people describe the reaction almost as if they were suffocating. This Worldwide Pest can produce many toxins such as: penicillic acid, peptide nephrotoxin, viomellein, xanthomegin,xanthocillin X, mycophenolic acid and more that have the ability to damage kidneys, increase the chance of cancer, as well as, leave you more susceptible to pulmonary infections.

 

The best way to find out if there is Penicillium in your home is to have your home assessed by an indoor air quality specialist; that’s where Air Quality Assessors steps in! Air Quality Assessors has a staff of fully licensed assessors who can walk through your home and take samples of anywhere they think has mold or other air quality issues. The pest can be in many different forms whether in the air as particulates or as visible mold on a material. It is best to have your home assessed to know whether the pest has reached its danger level or not. People who have compromised immune systems should take the precautionary steps and have their home assessed to help delay or stop future health problems.



 

 



Mr. Common Combative

Mr. Common Combative

 

Cladosporium is one of the most widespread molds because it can be found in nature as well as indoors. 


 

Mr. Common Combative is one popular bad guy who loves to pick on humans who have allergies and asthma. He attends parties where the Respiratory Rival (Aspergillus) and his friends (Penicillium and Wallemia Sebi) will be since he is a secondary wall colonizer- aka a follower! Never underestimate Mr. Common Combative for he can be found in almost every nook and cranny of your property (bathroom, carpets, air ducts, attics, furniture and more).

 

Mr. Common Combat has around 40 different disguises (species) and each disguise has its own act (place to be found)! Listed below are his 4 most favorite disguises.

 

  • Cladiosporium herbarum- The most prominent mold is air-spora. It grows over a wide range of temperatures, and has been reported to cause spoilage of meat in cold storage.

Cladiosporium sphaerospermum- This frequently encountered species has been isolated from air, soil, gypsum board, acrylic painted walls, painted wood, wallpaper, carpet and mattress dust, HVAC fans, wet insulations in mechanical cooling units, foodstuffs, paint and textiles.

Cladiosporium Cladosporioides- A cosmopolitan species which has been isolated from meat, soil, air, textiles and paint.

Cladiosporium Macrocarpum- A cosmopolitan species which has been isolated from dead plants, soil, indoor air, apple juice concentrates and seeds.

 

What is most dangerous about Mr. Common Combative? As mentioned earlier, he loves to pick on humans that suffer from allergies and asthma. He has the ability to trigger allergic reactions in humans with compromised immune systems which can cause rashes, itchy eyes, sudden muscle spasms, breathing difficulty, congestion and more! Some humans can be immune to him if they do not have the certain sensitivities that other humans possess (Cladiosporium emits no toxins).

 

 

Having homes/properties assessed by a licensed Air Quality Assessor is always a great weapon to use, because they can tell how much of Mr. Common Combative is around or in the air. For humans suffering from asthma or allergies, it is very important to keep the home/property at a safe level to lower the chances of an allergic reaction or respiratory problems from occurring. Mr. Common Combative produces more than 10 types of antigens (any substance that causes your immune system to produce antibodies against it) which increases the risk of an asthma attack.  If a human notices an increase in his or her asthma symptoms and believes the reason to be Mr. Common Combative or his friends, contact an Air Quality Assessor to come in immediately! 



The Respiratory Rival

The Respiratory Rival

(Aspergillus)

Part 2 of the Mold-ifying Series

By: Amy Gallagher

 

Res·pi·ra·tion

ˌrespəˈrāSH(ə)n/

noun

1.    the action of breathing.

"opiates affect respiration"

o    MEDICINE

a single breath.

plural noun: respirations

o    BIOLOGY

a process in living organisms involving the production of energy, typically with the intake of oxygen and the release of carbon dioxide from the oxidation of complex organic substances

 

 

 

Itchy eyes, sore throat, coughing and runny nose are all common signs that the Respiratory Rival has entered your territory. She shows little to no mercy to humans that have weakened immune systems, allergies or damaged lungs. Her ability to sneak in through air vents, pets, and water-damaged properties makes her a fierce competitor! Once she has entered your territory, she settles down in places that favor mold growth (areas that provide warmth, moisture, high humidity) like your bathroom or kitchen.  The best way to know that she has entered the game is to have your territory assessed by an Air Quality Assessor! The Air Quality Assessor knows that she is a stealth competitor that doesn’t like to show her face all the time, so he takes samples of the air to catch some of the dangerous spores she radiates.

The Respiratory Rival has many different methods of attacking, but for the most part she targets your respiratory system. Aspergillus can have many different forms (species) and cause different diseases. Listed below are some of the most dangerous forms of your rival:

 

Aspergillus clavatus

Aspergillus flavus

Aspergillus fumigatus

Aspergillus glaucus

Aspergillus nidulans

Aspergillus niger

Aspergillus oryzae

Aspergillus terreus

Aspergillus ustus

Aspergillus versicolor


The group of diseases that Aspergillus exposure can cause is called Aspergillosis. The main types of Aspergillosis are: Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (can cause coughing of blood), Acute invasive aspergillosis (can cause infectious pneumonia) and Disseminated invasive aspergillosis (can spread through your entire body). Another disease to take note of before your battle against the rival is Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis which can infect your body and start to grow inside your lung cavities.  The Respiratory Rival can leave her spell on you in many different forms: Allergic reactions, fungal mass development, infections, fatigue, nosebleeds, wheezing and more.



If you think you are starting to show symptoms of the Rival, it is highly suggested that you see your doctor!  Sometimes you don’t know that she has even started the game until it’s too late! The best way to stop the Respiratory Rival before she takes things too far would be to have your home assessed by a licensed mold assessor (Air Quality Assessors); The assessor can let you know if she (the rival) has elevated her game (increased spore count) and invaded your home or if she never started the game to begin with!