Biohazards are widely described as a group of biological organisms that include mold, bacteria, viruses, sewage or other toxins that are hazards to humans and the environment. Certified Industrial Hygienists are familiar with these threats and have the skills to detect, evaluate, and plan their remediation.
Water infiltration, water leaks or pipe breaks that remain unchecked can permit fungal (mold) growth on many surfaces including wood, plastic, leather, paper or drywall. Mold may be found year-round, both indoors and outdoors. Mold can cause a variety of adverse health effects from allergenic (sneezing, sinus congestion) to infection. Many factors will affect where mold growth occurs. Often, the first indication of a mold problem will be an odor frequently described as “gym sock” or “wet dog”. Water damage can also cause structural damage to the property.
A backed-up toilet or a break in a sewer line can cause untreated sewage to enter a building. Sewage contains bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses that can cause intestinal, lung and other infections and may make offices or homes unusable for occupancy.
COVID-19 is the illness associated with exposure to the novel corona virus SARS-CoV2. Deep cleaning and disinfection, followed by testing may be needed in spaces where contamination has taken place as a part of a re-occupancy program.
Standing water in a cooling tower or a dead leg of a building plumbing system may permit the growth of Legionella bacteria, the organism associated with Legionnaire’s Disease.
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