Fungi become a structural problem when growth occurs on wet building materials in an indoor environment. Personal contents that also become wet are subject to fungal growth. Once established, fungi can disperse throughout a building.
- Modern energy-efficient buildings present a particular problem due to their inability to breathe, and fresh air exchange depends on the design and maintenance of the HVAC system. All too often, these buildings become a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria due to insufficient outside air entering the system; outside air is important because it dilutes indoor pollutant concentrations.
- Poor filtration is also a common problem: Dirty air-handling units and contaminated duct work have been identified as causes of “sick building syndrome” and “building related illness.”
Fungal growth in an indoor environment can degrade air quality and disperse spores throughout a structure. If the surfaces on which spores settle are moist or wet, fungal growth can occur within 24 to 48 hours. In such an environment, occupant health may also be impacted.
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