Levels of microbial agents in floor dust during remediation of a water-damaged office building

Authors


Ju-Hyeong Park National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Division of Respiratory Disease Studies MS 2800, 1095 Willowdale Road Morgantown, WV 26505, USA Tel.: +1 304 285 5967 Fax: +1 304 285 5820 e-mail: gzp8@cdc.gov

Abstract

Abstract  We examined the effects of remediation on loads of culturable fungi in floor dust collected from a large water-damaged office building during four cross-sectional surveys (2002, 2004, 2005, and 2007, respectively). We created a binary remediation variable for each year for each sampled workstation using information on remediation associated with water damage obtained from building management and used generalized linear mixed-effects models. We found significantly lower levels of culturable total and hydrophilic fungi at remediated workstations than at non-remediated workstations in 2004 and 2005 after completion of major remediation. The remediation effect, however, disappeared in 2007. The fraction of hydrophilic to total fungal concentrations was lowest in 2004, increased in 2005, and was highest in 2007. Our results indicate that the 2003 remediation lowered dust indices of dampness temporarily, but remediation was incomplete, consistent with a building assessment report of water infiltration. This study demonstrates the utility of longitudinal evaluation of microbial indices during remediation of water damage in this building, in which elimination of sources of moisture was not fully addressed. Our findings indicate that the fraction of hydrophilic fungi derived from concentrations of fungal species may be a useful index for assessing the long-term effectiveness of remediation.

Practical Implications

This study demonstrates the utility of longitudinal evaluation of microbial indices during remediation of water damage in this building, in which elimination of sources of moisture was incomplete. Our findings indicate that the fraction of hydrophilic fungi derived from concentrations of fungal species may be a useful index for assessing the long-term effectiveness of remediation.

Ancillary