Health hazards of an old building

Despite the architectural beauty that an old house might have, it comes with a number of health hazards that might generally reduce the productivity of employees working in an organization located in such a building.

Unlike new modern buildings, old houses were built with different designs that do not meet the safety standards that are required of modern houses. The building material used in constructing them might over the years become toxic or would not be even allowed to be used in constructing new houses presently.

The most common threat that the houses might pose health wise would be the threat moulds. Fungal growth on old wood is a common phenomenon that many have ignored over the years.

A mould is basically a fuzzy growth on organic matter that is made up of different types of fungi. They thrive on organic surfaces that over the years have become worn out and trap a lot of moisture. Old buildings have worn out moisture proof wood that easily store moisture and thus support the massive growth of moulds. The health implications of moulds are dire.

Mycosis

Moulds normally reproduce by producing spores, these spores on inhalation are becomes very deadly and could cause mycosis which are essentially diseases caused by fungal growth. These forms of diseases are characterized by flu and cold like symptoms that are as a result of allergic reaction to the spores emanating from the moulds.

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Another form of danger is the possibility that the fungal growths besides causing respiratory tract infections might probably cause chronic or acute mycosis. This is as a result of mycotoxins that these moulds produce as they grow. These diseases are generally dangerous and could lead to major health problems to employees.

Asthma

Asthma is another disease whose probability of occurrence is aggravated by the presence of moulds in old wood. This would negatively affect the productivity of the employees. It is a health phenomenon that old houses produce moulds that lead to asthma like allergic reactions

Irritant Effects

Not all people are allergic to the microscopic moulds spores, however many people will experience irritation with exposure of the skin to moulds or any other form of fungal growth.

These irritations can be experienced in the eyes, the nose, the skin and the lungs.

Opportunistic Infections

Individuals with weak immune system might experience opportunistic infections that result from other microorganisms that grow on old building material such as wood or asbestos. A good example is the Aspergillus fumigatus which infect individuals with compromised or weak immune systems. This microorganism readily thrives in most old buildings posing a great danger to the individuals working in such a building.

Asbestos induced cancer

Old buildings were made of asbestos as part of their roofing and as a component of insulation in walls. Asbestos has since been banned from use as a building material. This is because it is carcinogenic. This in a layman’s language means that it is capable of inducing cancerous growth in any individual who come into contact with it.

Zoonotic diseases

These are diseases that are transmitted from animals to man. Animals tend to find old houses as the most suitable setting for their dwellings. Animals like rats and mice live in old houses and are capable of transmitting disease to humans. The bubonic plague that killed millions in the 19th century was as a result of human beings sharing habitats with mice and rats.

Question for employees

How many times have you been sick in the last one year?
Do you experience any sort of discomfort while working at this premise?
What kind of disease were you last diagnosed with when you last visited a health facility?

Do you feel that the ventilation in these offices is adequate?
How often is this building fumigated?
Sources of water

 The major source of water for the community at large comes mainly from dammed rivers. The water is trapped treated and supplied through pipe networks to different residential and industrial destinations.

The supply of water is done by a central water supply agency that usually collect treat and distributes the water to different destinations. These agencies are responsible for the maintenance of the pipe network and collection of water bills from consumers who have meters determining their consumption of water. (Pelusey 2006)

The industrial sector consumes most of the water that is produced by distributors since the applications of water in industrial instillations quite varied. This ranges fro cooling of plants to washing and production of tones of goods. (Pelusey 2006)

The prices of water have been increasing over the year. This is due to industrialization and global warming that has result to increased scarcity of this precious commodity.