Biological pollutants and their impact on the human health


So far, we have read about different forms of pollution such as air, water, land as well as light and their disturbing effects on our health, environment and ecological balance mandated for the healthy sustenance of diverse life forms on the planet Earth; and we are also coming up with ways of fighting this environmental menace. There is another severe form of pollution that has not yet caught our attention, and that is biological pollution.

You must be very inquisitive to know more about it in detail, so let us begin with what is biological pollution and its primary carriers. Biological pollution is the contamination of the air by the minute living organisms that are better known as ‘Biological pollutants.’ These contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, molds, mildew, dander(tiny scales from hair, feathers, or skin of animals), dust, mites, and pollen are present in the air and cannot be seen through naked eyes. You need to have a microscope or magnifying glass to acknowledge their presence in big numbers in the surrounding air.

The moment we step into our house, we harbor this feeling that within the confines of our house, we are safe now, away from all the dangers and hazards that the outside world poses to us – by way of pollution, ecological imbalance of atmospheric gasses among other threats. But it is a misconception. At home also, the concern of bio-pollutants surface which poses a massive threat to your health.

The sources of bio-pollutants at home:

The bio-pollutants including bacteria, fungus, molds and mildews require the same conditions to thrive in as any other living organism. Pollens trace their origin from plants; viruses are passed on to the human population as well as animals, the human race, wildlife and plant and animal remains are the main carriers of bacteria, animals, and soil and plant debris; and pets are behind saliva and animal dander. The protein in urine from rats and mice is also a powerful allergen that gets suspended in the air once it dries up.

The nooks and corners, crevices or any other place in your home that remains damp such as damp carpets, ceiling panels, walls and also paneling encourage the growth of these bio-pollutants. They usually thrive in places such as humidifier basins, dehumidifier trickle pans, air-cooling equipment, washrooms, ice-equipment as well as shower heads.

The population of these bio-pollutants grows when molds, mildew, and bacteria among other bio-contaminants discharge their spores in the air from which these bio-pollutants are produced. They remain suspended in the air and the moment they find a place conducive to their growth they set up their colonies which can be seen with the naked eye. Through these settlements, the numbers of these bio-pollutants go up and they attract more and more spores, in the process releasing small levels of toxins in the air.

One of the most common sources of bio-contaminants is humidifier that In turn leads to serious health concerns. The moisture released by humidifier is contaminated with bio-pollutants such as amoebas, protozoa, and strains of bacteria, which are instantly suspended in the air with the expulsion of moisture.

Bio-pollutants such as molds and mildews can inhabit such places as the duct of your heating or cooling systems. If there are seepages in the duct or gaps from where moisture and air from the outside atmosphere can enter the system, it can result in the thriving of molds and mildews.

These are not the only places where you can expect their presence, but they can also be seen inhabiting the coils of an air conditioner or even in the connection between the unit and the duct.

The conditions are suitable for the thriving of these bio-pollutants if the insulation of the pipe is on the inner side and not on the outer side. The insulation’s permeable surface gathers dust and moisture that act as a breeding ground for these molds and mildews.

Leakages in the water systems together with dampness in roof space and cellars can augment humidity levels inside your residence in turn accelerating the growth of these contaminating agents.

Molds, strains of bacteria and mildews can also be found in bathrooms that do not have outside-vented exhaust fans, combustion equipment such as kerosene space heaters, drying clothes within the house, and expelling clothes dryers to rooftops or sneaky areas can also be the factors responsible for a rise in the humidity levels in your house.

Dust mites are said to thrive in mats and carpets, sheets, mattresses, cushions and pillows, and stuffed furniture.

The impact of bio-pollutants on human health:

These bio-pollutants will take a toll on our health if measures are not taken to stop their spreading in the air inside our homes. The degree to which these contaminants suspended in the air impact our health differs from person to with an individual who is allergic to pollen may be immune to dust mites. The health issues that may arise as a result of coming into contact with these bio-pollutants can range from normal allergic reactions to severe asthma attacks.

The common symptoms associated with allergies and infections through these bio-pollutants entail running nose, congestion, itching, coughing, breathing problems and watery eyes among others.

Bio-contaminants such as bacteria and virus also affect the human health as they are main carriers of infectious diseases such as chicken pox,  flu, measles and tuberculosis to name a few.

The bio-pollutants are also responsible for lethal toxic reactions with the toxins having the potential to damage multiple vulnerable organs and tissues in the body such as liver, the digestive tract and also the immune system.

Keeping a check on the thriving population of these bio-pollutants in our homes so that we maintain our health in good shape is of utmost importance. All of us can adopt steps such as proper ventilation of the attics, maintaining a proper hygienic environment within the house confines and limiting humidity levels beside other measures that can to a great extent keep the air inside the house free of bio-pollutants.

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