Bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria, and Gram-positive bacteria (Actinobacteria), Endotoxins, and Exotoxins are often missed in remediation efforts. Endotoxins are produced as bacteria dies off and is released when the gram-negative bacteria cell disintegrates. According to a Review by Jessica I. Lundin and Harvey Checkoway, “The human health effects of acute exposure to endotoxin include sepsis; clinical symptoms such as fever, shaking chills, and septic shock; and, at lower doses, toxic pneumonitis, lung function decrements, and respiratory symptoms, such as byssinosis (Monday morning chest tightness)”. As a result, it’s important to eradicate endotoxins back to safe levels if they are found to be higher than normal. In any remediation strategy where water is present that could’ve contained bacteria, it’s important to add removal of Actinobacteria and Endotoxins to the testing strategy. Bacteria is more likely to be present in water coming from outside (roof leaks or water seepage) and leaks from a waste pipe. If your source of water intrusion is suggested to be from one of those two sources, it’s important to think about bacteria in addition to mold. Furthermore, leaks such as an attic space or basement where clean water could’ve mixed with rodent feces is also a concern for the presence of bacteria.
An exotoxin is a toxin secreted by bacteria typically while it is alive. An exotoxin can cause damage to the host by destroying cells or disrupting normal cellular metabolism. They are highly potent and can cause major damage to the host. Exotoxins may be secreted, or, similar to endotoxins, may be released during lysis of the cell. While there is currently no commercial way to analyze a home for the existence of exotoxins, All American’s Home Detox approach removes all biotoxins, mold, and bacteria.
Actinomycetes or Actinobacteria are a phylum of Gram-positive bacteria that can be terrestrial or aquatic. They also have a filamentous and branching growth pattern like mold that can grow into building materials. Until recently, Actinobacteria did not have much presence in the remediation space but it has been part of the testing strategy for many consultants as of lately who are looking to check to see the possibilities of contaminants that are impacting the occupant. As a result, we can commercially test for Actinobacteria and do recommend that you do to eliminate any environmental contaminant that can impact your air quality and cause adverse health reactions
According to the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, Bacterial contamination in water-damaged buildings has been identified as a potential cause of health problems, including infection and respiratory conditions like asthma. An environmental health research team found evidence linking two specific strains of bacteria — Stenotrophomonas and Mycobacterium — to indoor mold from water damage. Because it is hard to identify the strains of bacteria present in a home, the next best method is to test for Endotoxins (Produced by Gram-negative bacteria) or Actinobacteria (Gram-positive bacteria). Since Endotoxins are produced as bacteria dies, it’s an indicator if bacteria was present in the water prior to the area being dried out. It then gives us a baseline for remediation efforts to be able to test for Actinobacteria and Endotoxins again at the completion of the remediation to ensure they have been eradicated.
This is important data in understanding if the remediation company or hygenist you plan to use is all-encompassing on the exact situation that you may encounter on your remediation project.
Please view the Review done by Jessica I. Lundin and Harvey Checkoway called “Endotoxin and Cancer” for more information on Endotoxins.
Please also check out the full study done by the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center here:
Check out an Overview done by Gary Kaiser a microbiological professor on Exotoxins:
Check out an article by Rintala H “Actinobacteria in indoor environments: exposures and respiratory health effects.”
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