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1/27/2007 9:23:00 AM
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Environmental & Industrial Fungal Infestations
Environmental mycology covers issues in facilities that range from industrial settings where fungi impact manufacturing processes, to home and work environments where human health may be an issue. There currently is extensive interest in understanding the health implications of fungi in indoor environments. Questions related to these issues are among the most common types of questions received by DoctorFungus. The key current challenges in this area are:
Fungi are not the Only Problem
- How does one detect and measure the presence of indoor fungi?
- What is an acceptable level of indoor fungi?
- How do we relate this information to human health problems?
- How do we control the level of fungi in our environment?
Even though fungi are components of indoor air quality (IAQ), many other factors may contribute to indoor air quality problems. Non-biological contaminants include asbestos, radon, tobacco smoke, pesticides, lead, and carbon monoxide. Biological contaminants include viruses, bacteria such as the aerobic actinomycetes, mites and their fecal material, insects such as moths and cockroaches, dander from people and pets, algae, and pollen may also cause problems. Indoor-related health issues might result from more than one of these potential etiologic agents having a simultaneous effect on the occupants. The EPA's The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality  is available for downloading from the EPA IAQ web site and is an outstanding review of this area.
On a series of subpages, we provide a great deal more information on these topics:
Environmental Assessment (How to Look for Moulds)
How do I look for fungi? Just what is that black spot on the wall?
Diseases due to Environmental Moulds
Now that I've found them, do I need to worry about them? Is Stachybotrys really going to do me in?
Sick Building Syndrome
Help! This building is making me sneeze! Or, is it?
Remediation (Cleaning Up the Mould)
OK, I'm convinced I have a problem. How do I make those moulds go away?
Homeowners and Moulds FAQ Summary
Answers to our most commonly asked questions regarding moulds in and around the home.
Physicians and Moulds FAQ Summary
A quick guide for physicians who are called upon to evaluate individuals with concerns regarding mould exposure.
Why Do We Spell Mould With a "u"?
And finally, a quick word history lesson.
We provide specific literature references on most of our pages. However, we also have a separate page devoted just to a critical summary of the mould-related literature that is readily found on the web. Check it out!
About These Pages
The material and ideas here are drawn from many sources, including our own experience. However, this is an area with few guidelines and even fewer hard facts. So, you must always apply common sense in choosing how to adapt the ideas presented here to your own situation. When in doubt, please consult with a professional. At times, there is simply no substitute for experience and personal knowledge.
94. Anonymous. April 1995. The inside story: A guide to indoor air quality. EPA 402-K-93-007. United States Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov/iaq), Washington, DC.