ACGIH - American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
American Indoor Air Quality Council -
An Environmental Consultant is
a professional who can identify the causes of poor indoor air quality – even
when problems seem vague or unrelated to visible causes. The Environmental
Consultant is trained to see a building the way a general practitioner sees the
body of his patient – as an organic whole with dozens of inter-related systems
contributing to overall health. In order to diagnose the patient properly, the
Consultant must be able to gather and interpret data from various systems
operating in a building. His experience and training must therefore come from a
wide range of disciplines.
- an exaggerated or inappropriate immune response initiated by exposures to
antigens such as mold spores, pollen, or certain drugs and foods
Amplification - the process of indoor growth leading to an increased
indoor microbial concentration compared to the immediate outdoor environment
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Anderson sampler - a sieve-type air sampling device that uses a vacuum
pump to draw air through a radial pattern of 300 small holes, impacting
particles in each of the small streams of air onto the surface of microbial
Ascomycetes - This group consists of yeasts, cup fungi, morels and
plant pathogens. They reproduce sexually by cellular and nuclear fusion and form
ascospores produced inside an ascus (a sac in ascomycetes in which sexual spores
are formed). Asexual reproduction is by conidia, which are produced on a
phenomenal range of different kinds of structures. The form of these structures
and the way the spores are produced are used in the naming of these fungi. The
hyphae have numerous septa. They are generally inhabitants of soil but may be
found in freshwater and marine habitats. Both sexual and asexual spores are
abundant in air. Most of the fungi that are common indoors are asexual stages of
Ascomycetes. Some of these are readily identified on spore trap slides. Others
require culture and examination of spore bearing structures for identification
ASHRAE - American Society of Heating Refrigerating and
Aspergillosis - a group of diseases caused by the fungus Aspergillus;
affected tissues may include lungs, bronchial airways, sinus cavities, ears, and
Asthma -an immediate hypersensitivity (allergy) resulting in
respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and a
feeling of constriction within the chest or bronchial airways.
Bacteria - microorganisms with prokaryotic cell organization (lacking
membrane-bounded nucleus and other specialized features); bacteria are also
typically much smaller than fungi (molds)
Basidiomycetes - This group consists of some yeasts, rusts, smuts,
jelly fungi, puffballs, mushrooms, boletes and shelf fungi. They reproduce by
means of cellular fusion which may occur long before nuclear fusion and spore
formation. They produce basidiospores externally on basidia. Asexual spores are
conidia. Basidiomycetes have hyphae with septa. The hyphae of many
basidiomycetes form tiny tubes that connect one cell to the next, allowing
migration of nuclei. These are called clamp connections. Basidiomycetes grow in
soil, producing above-ground fruiting bodies on which spores are formed. Spores
of many Basidiomycetes are abundant in air and some can be identified
Bioaerosol - an airborne dispersion of particles containing whole or
parts of biological entities, such as bacteria, viruses, dust mites, fungal
hyphae, or fungal spores.
Blastomycosis -a disease caused by the fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis;
may infect lungs, skin, mucous membranes, bones, internal organs, and joints.
Brown-rot Fungi: - fungi that are capable of utilizing the cellulose
and hemicellulose portions of wood but are incapable of decomposing brown
lignin; rot characteristics include crumbly appearance and brown coloration.
BRI - building-related illness: a recognized disease that can be
attributed to airborne building bioaerosols or chemical pollutants.
Cell -;the smallest and most fundamental unit of life.
CFUs - Colony Forming Units; individual regions of growth attributed
to a single reproductive unit such as a spore or vegetative cell.
Coccidioidomycosis -&;a disease caused by the fungus Coccidioides
immitis; may infect lungs, internal organs, bones, joints, and skin.
Colony a discrete growth usually discernable by the naked eye; this
term is usually used in reference to growth originating from a single spore or
Cryptococcosis -a disease caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans;
may infect lungs, central nervous system, skin, and lining of body cavity.
Dermatophytes - a fungus that causes skin disease in humans or other
Dew point - the temperature at which water would condense from the air
if the air mass were cooled. In general, when the relative humidity is high, the
dew point will be close to the air temperature. At 100% relative humidity, the
dew point is equal to the air temperature. When the relative humidity is low,
the dew point is much lower than the air temperature.
Endotoxin - a lipopolysaccharide component of the membrane of
gram-negative bacteria that is heat stable and toxic; a secreted toxin produced
by bacteria is termed an "exotoxin"
Emlab - Environmental Microbiologies. Used by Fun Guy Inspection
& Consulting LLC for all biological assays.
Fungus - (pl. fungi) a kingdom of organisms (equal in rank to the
Plant Kingdom or the Animal Kingdom) defined technically as a parasite or
saprobeic, filamentous or single-celled eukaryotic organism, devoid of
chlorophyll and characterized by heterotrophic growth, and the production of
extracellular enzymes. Fungi include yeasts, molds, mildews, and mushrooms.
Fungicide -a chemical compound capable of inhibiting or destroying the
growth of fungi
Genus a grouping of similar species according to taxonomic criteria,
for example, humans (Homo sapiens) belong to the genus 'Homo' and the species
HEPA filter - High Efficiency Particulate Air filters that have been
tested to assure removal of 99.9% of particles 0.3 Ám in size
Histoplasmosis - a disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum;
may infect lungs, skin, mucous membranes, bones, skin, and eyes
Hypersensitivity - an allergy; an exaggerated or inappropriate immune
response categorized based on which part of the immune system that is involved
and the onset of response (i.e. Types I, II, III, IV)
Hypha -;(pl. hyphae) a branching tubular structure that forms the
vegetative body of a growing filamentous fungus
HVAC - Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning
Indoor Environmental Standards Organization - A group dedictaed to
upholding the standards of mold inspections.
Immunocompromised - any condition in which the immune system functions
in a abnormal or incomplete manner; such conditions are more frequent in the
young, the elderly, and individuals undergoing extensive drug or radiation
Immunosuppression - suppression of the natural immune response (see
Keratitis - microbial infections of the cornea (eye); when caused by a
fungus, it is referred to as mycotic keratitis
Legionnaires' Disease (Legionellosis) - a form of pneumonia caused by
the bacterium Legionellae ; first discovered in 1976 from infected
persons attending the Legionnairs meeting in Philadelphia.
Microbe - a general or non-specific term for any microorganism such as
bacteria, fungi (molds), algae, or protozoa.
Mildew - a common name for mold or fungi; often used in reference to
fungal growth on bathroom tiles and fixtures
Mold - a common name for fungi that grow in a filamentous fashion and
reproduce by means of spores; all molds are fungi, but not all fungi are
Mucormycosis - a group of disease caused by the fungi belonging to the
group Mucorales (Class Zygomycetes); such fungi may infect lungs, sinuses,
mucous membranes, central nervous system, internal organs, and eyes.
Mvoc's - studies indicate that several microorganisms can produce
VOC's and may also be released from non biological sources. Specifically
the MVOC's methyl 1-1 butanol, 2 hexanone, and 2 hepatanone may be associated
with fungi. Other sources of MVOCS may vary with the expected amount of
biological growth and the presence of other sources.
Mycellium - the collective mass of hyphae (filamentous cells)
comprising the body of most fungi and molds
Mycetoma - invasive fungal infection of subcutaneous tissues (under
Mycology - the scientific study of fungi (Kingdom Fungi or Mycota).
Mycosis - an infection caused by fungi (mold) (pl. mycoses).
Mycotoxicosis - any disease caused by fungal toxins (mycotoxins)
Mycotoxins - a diverse class of poisonous compounds produced by
certain mushrooms and other fungi; mycotoxins are produced on the surface of
mold spores and remain toxic even after the spore is dead
Oomycetes - This group consists of the water molds and sexual
reproduction is by oogonia, eggs, and motile sperm. Asexually they produce
zoospores. The hyphae have no or few septa (crossed walls which separate
individual cells in hyphae). Because of their motile zoospores, they require
water for reproduction and are often encountered in wet soil or water. They are
root and fish pathogens and are rarely seen on spore trap slides
Onychomycosis - invasive fungal infections of the nail
Otomycosis - a superficial fungal infection of the outer ear canal
Pathogen - a microorganism that causes a disease response.
Piedra - fungal infection of hair shafts resulting in the formation of
dark (black piedra) or white (white piedra) nodules within the hair shaft.
Pneumonia a disease characterized by the inflammation of the lungs;
often caused by bacteria or certain species of fungi.
Propagule - any disseminable microbial element that can give rise to
new growth (e.g. spores, hyphal fragments, cells)
Pulmonary hemorrhage - a condition characterized by bleeding in the
lungs caused by weakening of the lung vessels; often due to exposure to inhaled
toxins produced by the mold Stachybotrys
RAST testing - radioallergosorbent test; a blood test for measuring
antigen specific antibodies (allergic reactions). Used primarily where skin
testing is impractical or unreliable (i.e. extreme sensitivity, dermatitis,
Relative humidity - an expression of how much moisture is in the air
as a percentage of the total moisture the air can contain at the current
temperature. For example, if the air has all the water vapor that it can contain
at a given temperature, the relative humidity is 100%; if the air has only half
of the vapor that it can contain at a given temperature, the relative humidity
Ringworm - fungal infections of the skin resulting in raised red
swellings or lines that resemble burrowing worms; includes the diseases known as
athlete's foot, jock itch, and ringworm or the scalp
Saprobeany microorganism capable of obtaining nutrients from dead or
non-living organic matter.
Serology- the medical science of serum; or the technique of
determining antigens or antibodies in serum.
Serum- the clear or slightly yellowish liquid that remains after the
plasma portion is allowed to clot; blood is comprised of a plasma portion (55%)
and a cellular portion (45%); plasma contains water, salts, and plasma proteins
(albumin, fibrinogen, antibodies) whereas the cellular portion contains red
blood cells (erythrocytes), platelets, and white blood cells (leukocytes)
Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) ye, nose and throat irritations; fatigue;
and skin disorders.
Soft-rot Fungi:fungi that are capable of decomposing the cellulose and
hemicellulose portions of wood; most soft-rot also partially degrade lignin;
these species are most common in moist hardwoods
Species- the most specific taxonomic classification; an interbreeding
population of individual organisms; often abbreviated as 'sp.' in reference to a
single species or 'spp.' when referencing several species
Spores- reproductive units or specialized cells that provide the
primary means for dispersal and survival; many fungal (mold) spores are capable
of long term dormancy and are therefore referred to as resistant spores or
Substrate- substance on or in which a microorganism is living
Toxigenic- a substance or biological entity that has the property
itself or can produce one or more compounds that have the property to harm
humans or other animals.
Type I Hypersensitivity (anaphylactic reactions)- an immediate,
usually localized response to allergens such as fungi, pollen, dust mites, or
animal dander; examples of this type of disorder include insect stings, asthma,
food allergies, drug reactions, and hives; type of antibodies involved.
Type II Hypersensitivity (cytotoxic reactions)- a delayed response
(usually within hours or days) involving reactions against antigens located on
target cells which are then destroyed; examples of this type of disorder include
blood transfusions reactions and hemolytic disease of newborns (involving Rh
factors); type of antibodies involved: IgG, IgM
Type III Hypersensitivity (immune-complex reactions)- a delayed
response (usually within hours or days) involving insoluble antigen-antibody
complexes which cause tissue necrosis (death) and acute inflammation; examples
of this type of disorder include Farmer's Lung (caused by fungi and other
microorganisms), serum sickness, and malaria; type of antibodies involved IgG,
Type IV Hypersensitivity (cell-mediated response)- a delayed response
to microorganisms, tissue transplants, or chemicals that cause cellular
inflammation; examples of this type of disorder include contact dermatitis, and
Tuberculosis reactions (Mantoux test); type of antibodies involved: none
VOCs- volatile organic compounds; some VOCs are of industrial origin
whereas others are produced by microorganisms.
Water Activity - the water activity of a solution is equal to 1/100th
the relative humidity when expressed as a percent. Water activity is also
equivalent to the ratio of the solution's vapor pressure to the vapor pressure
of pure water.
White-rot Fungi:fungi that are capable of utilizing lignin as well as
cellulose and hemicellulose; most wood-decay fungi (especially many mushrooms)
are of this type; these species are often associated with rot of building
Wood-decay Fungi- fungi that are capable of decomposing various
components of wood; categorized as either soft-rot fungi, brown-rot fungi, or
Yeast a group of single-celled fungi characterized by the ability to
reproduce by budding.
Zygomycetes - This group consists of microfungi
such as Rhizopus and Mucor. They reproduce sexually by cellular fusion and the
production of resistant zygospores. Asexually, they produce spores in enclosed
sporangia (sporangiospores). Their hyphae usually lack septa. This group is
commonly encountered in the soil and only occasionally in water. While spores of
Rhizopus may be identifiable on spore trap slides the others such as Mucor are
more difficult and must be cultured for identification.