microbial contamination

Treating the Cause is So Important

Earlier this year our company was contacted by Scott Baker an individual who has numerous health issues, asking for advice on whether his current home could have a bearing on his brain fog, fatigue, constant coughing, night sweats, recurring flu-like symptoms and general malaise.

These symptoms we were informed started in a previous home, after discussions, the realisation was made that there were high levels of visible microbial contamination in two previous homes.

No medical physician has undertaken testing to determine whether our client is indeed CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome).

Our client was on medications but had removed himself from most of treatments a month before we attended site. He did inform us that he was still on anti-depressants and sleeping medication.

Indoor microbial invasive testing showed the house to be heavily contaminated with extremely high bacterial levels in the actual particle board flooring due to moisture issues in the floor cavity, the result of poor perimeter drainage on the topside of the block. Our client had intuitively possibly recognised this area as a problem and installed a vapour barrier over the damp earth, we had also suggested the installation of moisture vapour barrier attached to the underside of the timber joists.

Our testing revealed that the particle board was producing high levels of microbial volatile organic compounds and needed to be removed to reduce the exposure level.

It took months for our client to come to the realisation that even though this was a huge job and costly, the removal of the bacterially contaminated flooring had to be undertaken.

Scott, along with a builder, removed the particleboard floor throughout the whole house – naturally Scott used a respirator. When the flooring had been removed, it was replaced with tongue and groove hardwood flooring ready for sanding. Our suggestion to install a moisture barrier on the timber joists was also carried out along with the installation of ecofans, to aid in the circulation of air beneath the home.

Scott’s health started to improve with the persistent coughing disappearing- night sweats also were reduced but severe brain fog continued, Scott will be contacting his medical practitioner for advice on whether the brain fog maybe associated with his anti-depression medication.  General feeling of unwellness reduced considerably since the removal of the flooring.

We re-attended to treat the home with a gas to further reduce any microbial residue, this process not only has a high mould and bacterial kill but actually reduces the microbial DNA along with the resultant toxins.

It was during this time on site, we were asked to inspect the home where Scott’s mum was staying while the flooring works were being undertaken, where she continued to cough. We found that there was a problem in a second hand kitchen which had been installed, after our inspection, Scott stayed at his mums for dinner and that exposure resulted in him relapsing and being affected for just under a week.

When Scott and his mum moved back into their finished home, Scott had some initial issues which were narrowed down to his contents not being completely remediated; removal of two bed-side tables from his room improved his sleeping.  All of the furniture that could not be successfully treated was stored in the garage and the door to the garage sealed from the house.

To address the cross contamination from his contents we installed a catalytic air purifier which within 36 hours reduced the air borne contamination to a level that saw his coughing disappear.

Just recently Scott’s health problems reappeared, we discussed why but after a 60 minute phone discussion, no cause could be identified, then Scott mentioned that he had a garage sale to get rid of the furniture which he was reacting too.

I asked him who did all of the work in the garage, Scott said he had, i.e. he exposed himself to the materials he was reacting to, for the day of the garage sale and then was sick the following day, to us not unexpected.

This simply confirms he has developed sensitivities to these microbial contaminants and in the future cannot put himself in a position where the exposure will affect his health, it’s something he is now starting to understand.

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