Inappropriate control strategies have been associated with nearly all problem buildings.
Recommendation: Improve the design, installation, use, and maintenance of residential and commercial HVAC equipment, for both new and existing construction, in order to minimize allergen reservoirs and amplifiers. These improvements should be based on recommendations developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
Carpeting can provide niches for both the accumulation and production of allergens, and has been characterized by some as a "cultivation medium" for microorganisms when wetted. Carpeting can also serve as a reservoir for pollen and pollen fragments. The magnitude of the potential significance of carpeting as a source and reservoir of indoor allergens indicates that it should be given consideration as a serious problem.
Recommendation: Expand the scope of the Carpet Policy Dialogue Group of the Environmental Protection Agency to consider the serious problem of carpets as a source and reservoir of indoor allergens.
Standards have been established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for acceptable temperature, humidity, and ventilation as they relate to human comfort. However, little attention is given in these standards to the protection of buildings, furnishings, and construction materials from water damage, and the potential for subsequent adverse health effects.
Recommendation: Develop consensus standard recommendations for controlling moisture in naturally and mechanically ventilated buildings. These recommendations, designed to help control microbial and arthropod aeroallergens and allergen reservoirs, should be developed by ASHRAE and be included in their Standard Series 55 (thermal environmental conditions for human occupancy) and Standard Series 62 (ventilation for acceptable indoor air quality).
Education is an important component in the prevention and control of allergen-induced diseases. Considering that a large percentage of hospital admissions for asthma can be prevented by educating physicians and patients in the proper control measures, the need for emphasis on education becomes obvious. By disseminating information to patients, to health care providers, and to building design, construction and operations professionals, prevention of diseases associated with indoor allergens becomes not only realistic, but may offer a cost-effective means of reducing morbidity.