IAQ Website of the Month

6,000+ page website dedicated to… Aspergillus

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month. The excerpt below was originally published in the June 2010 newsletter.

Although Stachybotrys is the genus of mold that captures the headlines, you won’t find a six-thousand-page website dedicated to it.  That distinction belongs to another mold, Aspergillus.

Aspergillus, is a common genus of mold known for its practical uses (soy sauce, soft drinks) and serious effects on human health (aspergillosis).

This month’s featured website is a massive hub for all information related to Aspergillus.  The “Aspergillus Website” is owned and funded in part by the Fungal Research Trust, based in Manchester, UK.

Here are five sections of the website that I find of interest:

Disease Virus

Airplane Horror Story

For an indoor air nerd, there’s no worse nightmare than sitting next to the one guy on the airplane that is sick and coughing uncontrollably.   There I was today, strapped in at 10,000 feet next to a young man who managed to cough for 4 long hours from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Here’s a game plan if you ever get stuck in the same situation:

1. Ask to move.  And I’m not talking about the next row over.  For best avoidance, move at least 7 rows away from the offender.  This was the maximum number of rows SARS traveled in a well documented flight in China.  Today’s flight was fully booked so this was not an option.  I got up during the flight to stretch my legs and get a slight reprieve.

Ventilation VOCs

Reducing VOCs

Yesterday I received a call from a homeowner concerned about volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  After using an epoxy resin (and other VOC-laden building materials), the odors in the home were very strong and his wife stared showing signs of sensitivities.  Fast forward a year and now his wife has Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (although I prefer the term “toxicant-induced loss of tolerance or TILT).  They are trying to stay away from the home as much as possible, putting them in a very difficult position.

Here is my general advice:

#1. It’s always best to prevent the problem in the first place by using low VOC products.  These used to be very difficult to find, but now they everywhere.  You really have no excuse for using high emitting products.  For the homeowner’s situation, this advice didn’t help because he already installed all the materials and was unwilling to gut the place (I don’t blame him).


Does the world need another blog?

By one report, there are 150 million english language blogs in existence. Does the world really need another blog? Probably not, but you don’t have a say in the matter.

Of all those millions, there is not a single, well maintained blog dedicated to indoor air quality (IAQ). If you know of any, do tell… This could be the shortest-lived blog of all time!

Nevertheless, I’m sure I can add something of value to the blogosphere. More and more people are interested in indoor air quality. How do I know? People used to avoid conversation with me at parties. Now they actually seek me out!

Not only will I be blogging about IAQ, but I’ll mix in some green building strategies, a little HVAC, building science, microbiology and maybe even one of my world famous corny IAQ jokes. I’m guessing this IAQ blog will be frequented by the 2,000+ students that I’ve taught through the years. Even non-students are welcome though!

I’m getting my video studio set up. Soon I’ll be adding some video blogs where I’ll do some product demonstrations. My goal is to make this an active IAQ blog, one where you can actually learn something about the air you breathe. Well, at least the air you breathe inside.

If you ever want me to ramble on a topic, just let me know!