IAQ - Mold And Other Common Indoor Pollutants

Air Ducts
"Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?", click HERE .

Air Cleaners
For EPA's opinion on Ozone Generators, click HERE .

Asbestos

MDEQ enforces rules for building demolitions and renovations; however, this does not include residential housing (except for apartment buildings with four or more units, projects with multiple residential buildings at a site, residential installations, or some larger projects). The MDEQ asbestos program provides compliance inspections for building renovations and demolitions to comply with National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), and also for nonprofit schools to comply with the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). Symptoms of Asbestosis will often take 15-30 years after exposure conditions before they appear. Asbestos fibers are about 1/100th the thickness of human hair and cannot be seen without the aid of a microscope. Avoid damaging asbestos containing materials by grinding, sanding, sawing, etc. If asbestos containing materials in your home must be disturbed, consult your local yellow pages for a qualified contractor. Contractors working on nonresidential buildings must be certified by the MDEQ certification branch. A list of certified inspectors and contractors can be obtained from MDEQ. Contact Tommy Moody at (601) 961-5355.

Asthma & Allergies
Information on Asthma and Allergies is available from the following organization (just click on the name)
Biological Contaminants
Biological contaminants include bacteria, viruses, animal dander and cat saliva, dust mites, cockroaches, and pollen.
  • To read an EPA introductory booklet and this topic, click HERE.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)
CO is a colorless, odorless gas that interferes with the delivery of oxygen throughout the body. CO detectors are widely available.
  • To see EPA's information on this topic, click HERE .
  • To view National Safety Counsel's document on CO, click HERE .

Fireplaces, Wood stoves, Wood heaters, Wood boilers
The major pollutants released from these sources are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and fine particles. Unvented kerosene heaters may also generate acid aerosols. (Recent regulatory requirements require wood boilers to be no closer than 100 ft from a residence).
  • To read an EPA introductory booklet and this topic, click HERE.

Formaldehyde
  • To read an EPA introductory booklet and this topic, click HERE.
  • A Consumer Product Safety Commission document on Formaldehyde, click HERE
  • Test Kits, Inquire at your local supply store or shop online at one of several sites: Click here for Yahoo search results

Note on mobile homes, travel trailers and cottages:
Formaldehyde is a common ingredient in pressed-wood products, including particle board, and can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, wheezing and coughing, fatigue, skin rashes, headaches, nosebleeds, and severe allergic reactions. Formaldehyde levels are generally much higher in the warmer months. Good ventilation can dilute and reduce levels quite a bit.

Household Cleaning Chemicals and Sprays
Safe household cleaners
  • EPA Green Seal recommended products, click HERE
  • Melaleuca safe cleaning products -- 1-800-282-3000, click HERE
  • Green Works™ natural cleaners, click HERE
  • Healthy Child website recommendations, click HERE
  • Rochester Midland Corporation -- for industry and schools, 1-800-836-1633, click HERE

Insulation
Symptoms from Fiberglass will typically go away after being removed or encapsulated. Fiberglass is not regulated and is widely used, but should not be breathed. There are some alternatives to fiberglass insulation (such as polyester and sheet foam). One technical paper concluded that wet spray-applied cellulose insulation (typically 30-40% water), when used in the walls of indoor environments, can become very moldy and result in unacceptable risk to occupants. It is recommended that fiberglass insulation be kept neatly contained (not hanging out) and use proper personal protective equipment to avoid exposure during installation or maintenance activities. Replace ceiling panels and repair disconnected ventilation ducts if needed.

Lead
Please visit MDEQ’s webpage on lead paint by clicking HERE. Paint containing Lead and Cadmium can become airborne if sanded. Fine particles can be distributed and settle throughout the house via air ducts.
Test Kits for Lead
For more information on detecting lead in your home and various do-it-yourself test kits, review the following study from Consumer Reports HERE.

Mold
Hay fever-like symptoms such as stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation may be the result of a high concentration of mold spores. In worse cases Mycotoxins from molds has been linked to symptoms like headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.

Mold needs water and a food source (building materials) to grow. If one removes the water and moisture and keeps it dry, the mold cannot grow.
  • MS Department of Health webpage on Mold: html
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC) webpage on Mold: html
  • Mold and Dampness: Guidance from the CA Department of Public Health, html
  • Mold in Schools and Commercial Buildings, click HERE
  • Mold Toxins (Mycotoxins) and Black Mold, guidance from CDC: html
  • To see EPA's information on this topic, click HERE.
  • An online EPA introductory course on Mold, click HERE.
  • Slideshow (find and select "Mold Information SlideShow" down on the right side of screen). Images available at this site give examples of trouble spots and cleanup apparatus.

PICTURES of MOLD
  • An EPA Fact Sheet on avoiding problems during flood cleanup, click HERE.
  • An EPA booklet on flood cleanup in your home, click HERE.
  • Book: "Clean-Up Procedures for Mold In Houses", can be found at: EEBA Bookstore

Note on Mobile homes.
Water may leak from the metal siding or roof (of those that do not have shingles). Any exposed nail or screws in metal siding should be sealed so water does not seep into the wall cavities. Some walls have no barrier between the outer metal siding and inner dry wall sheeting to resist moisture. If a leak is suspected, it may be worthwhile to check the inner wall cavity for mold and correct any problems as soon as possible.

Pesticides
To read an EPA introductory booklet and this topic, click HERE .

Radon

U.S. Surgeon General Health Advisory
"Indoor radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country.  It's important to know that this threat is completely preventable.  Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques."  January 2005



A Citizen's Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Radon
To see EPA's information on this topic, click HERE .

"Home Buyer's and Seller's Guide to Radon"
To see EPA's information on this topic, click HERE .

One may also call the Radon hotline number at the National Safety Council
(800) SOS-RADON or (800) 55-RADON

Compared to other states, most of Mississippi has a low predictive indoor radon screening. Radon levels in Alcorn, Union, Pontotoc, Lee, Chickasaw, Clay, Lowndes, and Noxubee have a medium predictive level. To view radon maps of any state, click HERE .

Discounted radon test kits are available from the National Safety Council - 1-800-SOS-RADON;
Read the section in "A Citizen's Guide to Radon" listed above for a discussion on how to get reliable radon test results.

Schools: The Indoor Radon Program in Mississippi provides free screening for schools in participating areas. Call 1-800-626-7739 or (601) 987-6893.

Smoke (Tobacco Smoke and Second Hand Smoke)
Aside from adding a decade to appearance, graying and wrinkling skin, becoming a gruff baritone, morning coughing, staining, stenching, and other annoyances, smoking can have some devastating health affects on everyone in the house especially if combined with other types of air pollution. Refer to the following sites for more information.
Vapor Intrusion
Toxic Vapors can migrate into your home from the ground through cracks in foundations or utility spaces.
  • To view guidance from the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC), click HERE . ITRC also makes available an archived training course on vapor intrusion.
  • What is vapor intrusion?, click HERE

    For more information, you may contact Willie McKercher at MDEQ at 601-961-5731.