Monitoring microbial contaminations in indoor environments with health problems
The presence of microorganisms and the substances they produce can induce or promote health problems in the short, medium, but also sometimes very long term. Abnormal fatigue, headaches, conjunctivitis, rhinitis, allergic asthma, alveolitis, legionellosis, various poisonings, Sick Building Syndrome, skin problems, cancer, …, may be pathologies due to microbial contamination in the indoor environment.
Sciensano responds to a variety of requests for microbial surveys in the environment. We conduct microbial monitoring in the field and have a specific laboratory and equipment rental service. We also provide training on microbial pollutants and health. Our customers are the Regions, Internal and External Services for Prevention at Work (SIPPT & SEPPT), Occupational Medicine, Experts in environment, …
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Recent societal changes, particularly in our way of life and our environment, question the health system. Under the effects of improvements in living conditions and in the quality of health services, life expectancy in the industrialised countries almost doubled during the last century. However, new pathologies are emerging, and among them, diseases with an indoor environmental etiology are on the rise. For instance, a rapid increase in the frequency of allergies over 20 years has been noted.
Numerous etiological factors may be involved. Outdoor air pollutants are not unrelated to these new pathologies. Furthermore, in industrialised countries, people spend most of their time indoors (schools, offices, homes, shops, transport, etc.), and the impact of indoor air pollutants, in sometimes much higher concentrations than outside, also appears to play an important role in health issues.
Among the numerous indoor pollutants, biological pollutants are increasingly being taken into account.