Garden Grove, CA, February 19th, 2016
Many residents of California live in regions of the state that often experience dry conditions with minimal humidity. This has been especially true over these last several years as extreme drought conditions impacted much of California.
In desert regions and during drought conditions throughout the state, humidifiers are sometimes put to work in residential and commercial buildings to relieve the physical discomforts brought on by dry air. The moisture humidifiers add to the indoor environment can also help to alleviate common conditions brought on by winter heating, such as static electricity, peeling wallpaper and cracks in paint and furniture.
If used improperly, excessive moisture from humidifiers can encourage the growth of biological organisms in a building. These may include dust mites and mold which can cause allergies and other respiratory conditions.
Several years ago, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) alerted consumers to possible health hazards resulting from dirty room humidifiers. They found that bacteria and fungi often grow in the tanks of portable and console room humidifiers and can be released in the units’ mist. Breathing this contaminated mist may cause lung problems ranging from flu-like symptoms to serious infections. The commission reported that film or scum appearing on the water surface, on the sides or bottom of the tank or on exposed motor parts may indicate that the humidifier tank contains bacteria or fungi. A crusty deposit or scale may also form within the tank or on parts in the water. This scale is composed of minerals that have settled out of the water creating a surface on which bacteria or fungi may grow. These minerals can also be released in the mist and settle as fine white dust. This white dust may contain particles that are small enough to enter the lungs.
“If you use a humidifier it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for use and care of these products to prevent exposure concerns,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Garden Grove facility. “People concerned about potential problems that could be the result of a humidifier in their home or work environment can turn to LA Testing for answers. We offer analytical services to identify both microbial and chemical contaminants that may be present in the air, that have settled onto surfaces or that may be present within the humidifier.”
LA Testing has also sponsored a video about humidifiers and indoor air quality that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/Aqgoj4ffTiU.
To learn more about humidifiers and indoor air quality issues or other environmental, occupational, health and safety issues, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other substances. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Garden Grove, San Leandro and San Diego.