Indoor exposure to and intake of airborne bacteria and fungi from landfill

Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, September 2018, Volume 1, #23

The landfill located near buildings poses danger to the occupants. Landfill environment is usually filled with a pungent smell, especially during rainy season. The smell does find their way into buildings in the vicinity. What is not known to so many people is the extent to which landfill could increase building occupants exposure to airborne bacteria and fungi species that are dangerous to human health. Evidence in the literature suggests that bacteria and fungi concentration inside buildings near landfill could be as high as 100 times the recommended standard of 500 CFU/m3. The concern is that health effects due to bacteria and fungi intake include infectious and respiratory related diseases. The extent of the adverse health effects depends on the type of the species and concentration of the bacteria and fungi, duration of exposure, and vulnerability of occupant exposed.

Locating landfill near occupied buildings is common in developing countries. This is usually due to a deficiency in law and order. Building occupants in such area endure pungent smells and are exposed to dangerous bacteria and fungi species on a daily basis with little or no government intervention. A constant lack of electricity in such countries means air movement inside the buildings will be limited and age of air will be high – i.e., it would take longer time for indoor air to be replaced with clean air. The negative pressurization of the buildings leads to high infiltration – outdoor to indoor transport of bacteria and fungi and fouled smell inside the buildings.

What does this knowledge mean to building occupants, policy makers, and people responsible for delivering energy efficient and healthy indoor environment? What can be done to reduce discomfort, and mortality and morbidity rate of building occupants living in the landfill area?

23_ Landfill microbes_IAC 23

Do you want to know more about this topic? Read Hayleeyesus et al. (2014) and Lis et al. (2004) papers.

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