Emergency Medicine Book


Damp Indoor Environment Health Risks

Aka: Damp Indoor Environment Health Risks, Mold Exposure, Mold Health Effects
  1. Pathophysiology
    1. See Mycotoxin
    2. Damp environments have multiple health risks
      1. Mold
      2. House Dust mites
      3. Cockroaches
      4. Rodents
      5. Microbial growth
    3. Mold growth requirements
      1. Temperature: 40-100 degrees F
      2. Higher relative humidity
    4. Most common mold contaminants
      1. Cladosporium
      2. Altemaria
      3. Penicillium
      4. Aspergillus
  2. Symptoms: Mold and damp environment exposures
    1. Rhinorrhea
    2. Cough
    3. Pharyngitis
  3. Complications
    1. Asthma Exacerbation
    2. Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
    3. Allergic Rhinitis
  4. Diagnosis: Evaluation of Mold Exposure
    1. No standards of universal guidelines
    2. Clean-up is often done empirically without testing
      1. Most cost effective option as testing is costly
    3. Possible guidelines
      1. American Industrial Hygiene Association (2001)
      2. Indoor mold levels should be less than outdoor levels
    4. Criteria for health harm
      1. Patient must have come in contact with agent
    5. Measurements
      1. Visual inspection (most important)
      2. Surface sampling (Tape, surface wipe, dust, material)
      3. Indoor air sampling (Vacuum, Anderson, Culture)
  5. Prevention
    1. Fix leaking plumbing and leaks in building envelope
    2. Watch for condensation and wet spots
    3. Prevent condensation
    4. Vent moisture from appliances to outside
    5. Maintain relative humidity <60%
    6. Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours
  6. Resources
    1. Institute of Medicine Report on Damp Indoor Spaces

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