Testing and Remediation of Toxic Moulds and Bacteria
Concerns regarding the quality of the air in our offices and homes have increased since energy conservation measures were implemented in the 1970s. In an attempt to reduce heat loss and control energy utilisation, steps were taken to minimise the infiltration of outside air. While saving energy, the continuous recirculation of air has adversely affected the indoor air quality, (particularly in multi-occupancy situations), by encouraging the build-up of contaminants. The latter have been cited as causing "Sick Building Syndrome" (SBS), and the number of complaints about SBS and the subsequent legal claims against employers and landlords are rising rapidly.
It is widely accepted that the contamination causing SBS may arise from a number of sources, such as chemicals indoor building materials, pollutants in the outside air entering the building, biological contaminants in stagnant water accumulated in ducts and humidifiers, or where water has collected on ceiling tiles, carpeting or insulation. One indoor bacterium isolated from air conditioning systems, Legionella, is already known to cause Legionnaires Disease and Pontiac Fever. It is the potential risk factors associated with the growth of bacteria and also toxic moulds that is raising serious concerns. Toxic moulds, such as Stachybotrys, thrive in damp humid conditions and can grow on anything from paper, wood, carpet, cloth, and wallpaper to concrete.
Toxic moulds produce mycotoxins that are released into the environment in spores, or in volatile gases, produced by the fungi. If inhaled, these mycotoxins can have serious implications on human health.
Several successful lawsuits have already been brought against employers and landlords by employees and tenants whose health has been adversely affected by toxic moulds. In most cases, the compensation awards have been based on the lack of evidence to demonstrate compliance with due diligence requirements on the part of the employer or landlord. By undertaking a small amount of regular inspection and testing and maintaining documentary evidence to support the findings (and carrying out remedial actions, if appropriate), organisations can mitigate the potential damage arising from a compensation claim.
The aim of Microbac's Environmental Service Division is to relieve the client of the day to day involvement in such matters. Our professional, technical staff will ensure that all due diligence requirements are met and, wherever possible, help to eliminate potential problems altogether.
Microbac will also provide and maintain the appropriate documentation to satisfy regulatory requirements.