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Bacteria Linked to Indoor Building Water Damage Identified

Mycobacterium (

Mycobacterium (

Environmental health researchers at University of Cincinnati in Ohio have identified two specific bacteria associated with contamination in water-damaged buildings, a potential cause of health problems. The team that includes a colleague from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, presented its findings yesterday at an American Society for Microbiology meeting in San Francisco.

Bacterial contamination in water-damaged buildings is considered a potential health risk for infection and respiratory conditions like asthma. While mold has been associated with indoor water damage health problems, less is known about bacteria that also collect under these conditions.

The researchers led by Atin Adhikari, a professor of environmental health at Cincinnati, analyzed samples of water damage collected from 42 homes in the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study. That study examines the long-term effects of environmental exposures on respiratory health and allergy development in children, and is funded by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Adhikari and postdoctoral researcher Eric Kettleson measured the extent of mold contamination with an environmental relative moldiness index (ERMI), a standard index of mold accumulation. Based on the EMRI results, the researchers divided the samples into high-mold or low-mold groups.

The researchers compared the ERMI data and types of bacteria found in both high- and low-mold homes to better understand the environmental sources and home characteristics that influence indoor bacterial contamination. The team found strong correlations between mycobacterium and visible mold, as well as a correlation between stenotrophomonas and the environmental relative moldiness index.

The findings of the association between mold and the bacteria mycobacterium and stenotrophomonas were the the first time these specific strains were identified in the context of indoor water damage. “These new data.” says Adhikari, “will help us more accurately target and combat the bacteria and to explore synergistic health effects of bacteria and molds growing in water damaged homes.”

Kettleson notes that stenotrophomonas maltophilia, an emerging multidrug-resistant pathogen, was found in some of the samples, and had previously not been quantitatively assessed in water damaged homes, where it could cause inhalation exposure risks. “Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is the first bacterial species associated with higher ERMI values in homes,” adds Kettleson.

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4 comments to Bacteria Linked to Indoor Building Water Damage Identified

  • […] Bacteria Linked to Indoor Building Water Damage Identified […]

  • […] my wife and me to gluten and milk products. The mold also triggers aggressive environmental bacterial growth.   I’ve seen other people unexpectedly gain 20-40 pounds in a few months after being exposed to […]

  • Dear Sir,

    I was wondering if you could kindly help me, it appears that the reports into the facts and findings on these bacteria found amongst mold; that the results may now have actually been published. possibly in poster form… at the main meeting. Please could you attach any publications in pdf format if possible.

    Eco Smart Organics uses a dry fogging solution to kill off mould spores in badly affected environments, along with all known bacterial colonisations, using an active agent quaternary formulation. We are closely montoring this development as to date under the worlwide recognised test criteria EN BS 1276, our process readily achieved the desired 5 log kill rate within the 1 minute and 5 minute timescales, by working on both gram neg and pos bacteria alike.

    A prominent microbiologist working in UK has stated he sees no reason why our product that has so effectively killed ALL the bacteria, virus, plus mould and funghi as listed on our website kill list; would not also be totally effective against these new bacteria found.

    As you are no doubt aware the positive charge is built into all quaternary based agents at time of production; however the actual process of releasing the Odour Killer & Sanitiser product as a super heated DRY fog also creates a far more heavily electrically charged and agitated gas upon release. Creating during the first 30 minutes or so an enzyme like activity, plus the effect of fast moving swirling air flow, for an complete floor to ceiling coverage of minute 1-1.5 micron sized agents able to penetrate deeply into all fabrics and materials found, plus via capillary action into tiny cracks present. Any bacteria airbourne at time of deployment, lying on exposed surfaces will be killed in around 30 seconds period, whilst the product continues to kill over an lengthy 24 hours period, its efficacy following a bath tub curve. The dense fog created, naturally disperses over 3-4 hours leaving NO vosible residues, designed originally for the NHS, a hospital grade product, thats safe for all humans, pets and plantlife. In addition substantial testing was also carried out to ensure it had NO corrosive properties, safe for all delicate electronic equipments and sensitive materials.

    The advantage of using our dry fogging is that no special interior preparation is required, apart from general sealing off of manageable areas, eg shutting windows, closing doors on room by room basis, with the machine free to work in these rooms remoteley operated outside; you then reach in and retreive it, before closing the treated rooms door behind you.

    Eco Smart agents carry out Mould remediation here in the UK, but always start by fogging any affected interiors, ahead of using proven 3 stage treatment as appropriate dependent upon condition and dampness of building materials found. Biocide/chemical washdown, deep root killer and an final re decoration painting using specialist anti mould/fungal paint additives, which continue to breath in the painted surfaces.

    I hope you will be able to assist us in finding these results as requested.

    Best regards

    Andrew Keary

    Business Development

    Eco Smart Organics,
    Warwick House,
    37-41 Cross Street,
    GU14 6BQ .

    Contact Mobile: 077604 66050

  • Thank you Andrew for your comments. I suggest you contact the principal investigator at University of Cincinnati for the paper, Dr. Atin Adhikari, ATIN [dot] ADHIKARI [at] UC [dot] EDU – AK