Biological Contaminants


Molds, bacteria, viruses and allergens (pollen) are common Biological Contaminants that infest structures. These biological contaminants may breed in stagnant water infesting the structure. The water required to sustain biological life and reproduction does not have to be sourced from a flood, a broken pipe, etc. Water that has accumulated in forced air ducts, inline or stand-alone humidifiers or dehumidifiers, drain pans, or where water has collected on ceiling tiles, carpeting, or in wall insulation or attic insulation can be suitable for biological life.

Additionally, insects and/or bird droppings can be a source of biological contaminants.

Human susceptibility to biological contamination includes cough, chest tightness, fever, chills, muscle aches, and allergic responses such as mucous membrane irritation and upper respiratory congestion.

Black mold (stachybotrys) is a fungus that forms on various kinds of damp wood (building materials) or decaying organic matter. Molds are found indoors and outdoors, in all climates, during all seasons. Mold organisms, the visible molds, require nutrients and water to sustain life and grow. These mold organisms incubate and release the microscope airborne mold spores.

The mold spore is the health hazard of any mold infestation, as they are breathed into the lungs. The spore is also the reproductive cycle for mold. The spore, given the right environmental conditions (heat/humidity) will split into two spores through a process known as fission. When these mold spores settle out of the air, landing on organic matter, wet or moist nutrient surfaces, they form hyphae, leading to a new mold organism and continuing the life cycle of the mold. Mold spores not only land on the surfaces of materials, they infest into areas you cannot physically access to remove them. i.e. the pores of the 2 x4 framing behind the wall.

Outdoors, molds survive by using plants, decaying woods, organic matter such as fallen leaves as a source of nutrition. Mold outdoors is regulated by sunlight; mold does not use the sun for energy or photosynthesis and is dormant during daylight hours. Mold outdoors is also regulated by plants, flowers, the wind, insects and many additional other natural processes. Indoors, black molds require the nutrients readily available from building materials, and moisture, to grow and sustain life. Mold indoors is not regulated by natural processes which regulate mold outdoors. Mold indoors tend to grow in enclosed, dark, wet areas; permitting for 24 hours a day growth at more toxic levels than outdoors.

Mold organisms typically will grow with temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Mold spores will split with humidity levels around above 60 percent. In cold climates, during the winter seasons, mold does not die off, it becomes dormant as much of nature does.

Controlled, moderate temperatures and available nutrient sources make most structures ideal for mold growth.

The source of the water intrusion must be rectified before any mold treatment can be successful and guaranteed. Areas of high humidity must be ventilated and/or dehumidified for any mold treatment to achieve long term results.


Bacteria are a single cell life form. Each individual cell is a separate, unique organism. Bacteria consume organic waste matter and break it down to the simplest of compounds like carbon dioxide and water. This is a process known as bacterial digestion. Bacteria can migrate to areas that are rich in specific organic waste matter to feed and sustain life. Bacteria can also attach themselves to surfaces.

Bacteria are capable of producing a multitude of enzymes and enzyme types to degrade a wide variety of organic materials. More impressive and important; bacteria can produce multiple “teams” of enzymes at the same time.
There are thousands of bacteria. Some bacteria are only found in unique environments; require specialized types of food, and/or have very unique biological roles.

Bacteria can be classified into:

  • Aerobic (require oxygen to live)
  • Anaerobic (do not require oxygen to live)
  • Facultative (thrive under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions)

Mature bacteria reproduces by dividing into two cells, each identical to each other and the parent bacteria. This process is known as cell division. Bacteria can reproduce very rapidly, producing a new generation every 15 to 30 minutes. This population will not increase forever, as, at some point, all the organic waste will be consumed and therefore the food source will be depleted.

Colonies of bacteria are factories for the production of enzymes. Enzymes do not reproduce. The enzymes produced by the bacteria will be appropriate to the substrate in which the enzyme attaches to. Enzymes break down complex organic waste so the bacteria can break it down further and consume it. The bacteria will produce more enzymes continuing the cycle until the food source, the organic waste, is all consumed. It is an automated, regulated production of the appropriate enzyme for the cleansing of the organic material, PROVIDED that you have the correct bacterial strains to begin with.


Healthy Homes investigates a structures level of moisture.  Controlling a structures moisture level can be a cost effective means of reducing indoor pollutant levels.

An allergen is a usually harmless substance capable of triggering a response that starts in the immune system and results in an allergic reaction.

For instance, if you have an allergy to pollen, your immune system identifies pollen as an invader or allergen. The immune system responds by releasing chemicals that typically cause symptoms in the nose, throat, eyes, ears, skin or roof of the mouth.

In addition to pollen, other common allergens include dust mites, animal dander, mold, medications, insect venoms and various foods.

Fungal Allergens

In 1952 basidiospores were described as being possible airborne allergen and were linked to asthma in 1969.[22] Basidiospores are the dominant airborne fungal allergens. Fungal allergies are associated with seasonal asthma.[23][24] They are considered to be a major source of airborne allergens.[25] The basidospore family include mushrooms, rusts, smuts, brackets, and puffballs. The airborne spores from mushrooms reach levels comparable to those of mold and pollens. The levels of mushroom respiratory allergy are as high as 30 percent of those with allergic disorder, but it is believed to be less than 1 percent of food allergies.[26][27] Heavy rainfall (which increases fungal spore release) is associated with increased hospital admissions of children with asthma.   Mushroom spore allergies can cause either immediate allergic symptomatology or delayed allergic reactions. Those with asthma are more likely to have immediate allergic reactions and those with allergic rhinitis are more likely to have delayed allergic responses.

In Canada, 8% of children attending allergy clinics were found to be allergic to Ganoderma, a basidiospore.[34] Pleurotus ostreatus,[35] cladosporium,[36] and Calvatia cyathiformis are significant airborne spores.[25] Other significant fungal allergens include aspergillus and alternariapenicillin families.[37] In India Fomes pectinatus is a predominant air-borne allergen affecting up to 22 percent of patients with respiratory allergies.[38] Some fungal air-borne allergens such as Coprinus comatus are associated with worsening of eczematous skin lesions.[39] Children who are born during autumn months (during fungal spore season) are more likely to develop asthmatic symptoms later in life.[40]


Treatment includes over-the-counter medicationsantihistaminesnasal decongestantsallergy shots, and alternative medicine. In the case of nasal symptoms, antihistamines are normally the first option. They may be taken together with pseudoephedrine to help relieve a stuffy nose and they can stop the itching and sneezing. Some over-the-counter options are Benadryl and Tavist. However, these antihistamines may cause extreme drowsiness, therefore, people are advised to not operate heavy machinery or drive while taking this kind of medication. Other side effects include dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, difficulty with urination, confusion, and light-headedness.[41] There is also a newer second generation of antihistamines that are generally classified as the “non-sedating antihistamines” or anti-drowsy, which include cetirizineloratadine, and fexofenadine.[42]

An example of nasal decongestants is pseudoephedrine and its side-effects include insomniarestlessness, and difficulty urinating. Some other nasal sprays are available by prescription, including Azelastine and Ipratropium. Some of their side-effects include drowsiness. For eye symptoms, it is important to first bath the eyes with plain eyewashes to reduce the irritation. People should not wear contact lenses during episodes of conjunctivitis.

Allergen immunotherapy treatment involves administering doses of allergens to accustom the body to induce specific long-term tolerance.[43] Allergy immunotherapy can be administered orally (as sublingual tablets or sublingual drops), or by injections under the skin (subcutaneous). Immunotherapy contains a small amount of the substance that triggers the allergic reaction.


A virus is a biological agent that reproduces inside the cells of living hosts. When infected by a virus, a host cell is forced to produce thousands of identical copies of the original virus at an extraordinary rate. Unlike most living things, viruses do not have cells that divide; new viruses are assembled in the infected host cell. However, unlike still simpler infectious agents, viruses contain genes, which gives them the ability to mutate and evolve. Over 5,000 species of viruses have been discovered.

Volatile Air Compounds (VOCs)

Healthy Homes products protect against volatile organic compounds (VOCs) airborne particulates. Most indoor air pollution comes from sources inside the building. For example, adhesives, carpeting, upholstery, manufactured wood products, copy machines, printers, pesticides, and cleaning agents may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde, other toxic compounds, and airborne particulates.

VOCs may cause chronic and acute health effects at high concentrations. Some are known carcinogens. Low to moderate levels of multiple VOCs may also produce acute reactions.

Combustion products such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and airborne particulates can come from space heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces and gas stoves.

The outdoor air that enters a structure can be a source of indoor air pollution as well. For example, pollutants from motor vehicle exhausts; plumbing vents, and building exhausts (e.g., bathrooms and kitchens) can enter the building through poorly located air intake vents, windows, and other openings. In addition, combustion products can enter a building from a nearby garage.


Healthy Homes’ Odor Cleaner UN-Odor is a blend of biologicals and essential oils that efficiently break down and consume surface and airborne odor-producing molecules – the malodor molecules – and particles produced by molds, bacteria, cigarette smoke, fire smoke, food preparation, pollen, pets and urines.

The preferred application technique for UN-Odor is with a Fog. Fogging is considered the modern, scientific way to attach to and break down mold spores, bacteria, smoke, odors, and any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) suspended in air. Surface chemical wipes, or natural surface treatments, cannot eliminate airborne mold spores. UN-Odor can also be applied with a spray mist.