Mold from Earth has long found its way aboard the International Space Station (ISS) but no one knew it could survive 200 times more radiation than any human can, posing “planetary” threats to the solar system, a new study says.
At times, mold seems omnipresent, and the International Space Station is no exception. Some spores are being grown by astronauts during experiments, while others appear naturally.
The two most commonly found types of mold on board the ISS are fungi Pennicillium, which is used to make penicillin, and Aspergillus. The new research by Marta Cortesao, a microbiologist at the German Aerospace Center in Cologne,shows that both of these microorganisms can survive insane doses of radiation that can easily kill a human.
The scientist discovered this by bombarding the mold with X-rays and high-frequency ultraviolet light in a lab. The exposure to radiation is measured by gray, a unit describing how much energy something can absorb. Anything above half a gray causes radiation sickness, while five gray is lethal to humans. The mold, on the other hand, survived being blasted by X-rays up to 1,000 gray.
We now know that [fungal spores] resist radiation much more than we thought they would, to the point where we need to take them into consideration when we are cleaning spacecraft, inside and outside,” Cortesao said before presenting her report at an astrobiology conference in Seattle last week.
The good news is that space travelers can use the cells from the radiation-resistant mold to make important substances like antibiotics and vitamins during long missions, the researcher said.
The flip side is that fungi such as Aspergillus could pose a threat to astronauts’ health, causing lung diseases, especially if the immune system is weakened. On top of that, the resilient mold spores from Earth may contaminatewhole planets and moons in our solar system during spacecraft visits.
A 180-day trip to Mars, for example, exposes the spaceship and everything on board to a dose of about 0.7 gray, so the spores of Aspergillus “are expected for survive” the voyage, considering the radiation alone, the report reads. So, in order to avoid accidentally sparking a mold invasion of other worlds, Marta Cortesao calls for adjusting future “planetary protection” policies.
The first thing that a homeowner or business owner tends to
do when they find mold or asbestos is try and clean it up. But then that is not
always the best course of action. Asbestos and mold removal is not easy if you
are not a professional. Mold can leave a displeasing mess that smells really
bad; but even worse, it can damage one’s home and put your health at risk.
Asbestos, is a well-known carcinogen and refers to six naturally occurring fibrous
minerals that have the ability to resist heat, fire and electricity, it
is usually found in most buildings that were built before 1980, and those houses
that were built around 1930-1950 usually have asbestos as insulation. Asbestos is
still used today in several products frequently used in construction. In
response, regulations to protect the health and safety of the employees,
occupants and contractors were made.
The Hazardous Asbestos
Before removing any asbestos, it is
important to know the safety tips, which is why asking for the assistance of
professionals is truly important. Asbestos
can cause many health risks, including cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.
It usually takes 10 – 50 years from the time of exposure for conditions to
develop, making it hard to diagnose in early stages.
These are just two of the diseases that can result from asbestos
Lung Cancer:Most commonly associated with
factors like smoking and radon, lung cancer is also known to be exacerbated by
exposure to asbestos. Researchers have found that about 3 – 4% of lung cancer
diagnoses are asbestos related.
respiratory condition results from the formation of scar tissue plaques on the
surface of the pleura lung tissue (lung linings). It can be a precursor to the
onset of mesothelioma.
Remember that there is no such thing as
safe level of asbestos exposure. Early removal of asbestos is important;
prevention is better than cure.
Importance of Mold Removal for the Health
There are numerous benefits of professional mold removal. Mold can spread
quickly which makes it hard to find where it originated. But professional
remediation will be able to locate the source of the mold where it grows and
completely remove it. Just like asbestos, mold can also be hazardous to your
health which may cause a wide range of health issues, depending on the type of
mold and severity of the infestation. The most common ailment is respiratory
infections, which can be especially hazardous to anyone with asthma and other
breathing difficulties. The longer you’re exposed to mold, the worse your
condition can get.
It surely may seem less expensive to do the removal on your own, but not being knowledgeable will end up costing homeowners and business owners more in the long run. To make sure that the mold or asbestos is removed safely at home or work, it’s best to let the professionals handle the work.
Contact Fun Guy Inspections at 818-674-7541 today.
Health officials are warning of “a serious global health threat” from a drug-resistant superbug fungus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the fungus, Candida auris, has already sickened hundreds of people in the United States.
Candida auris, which preys on people with weakened immune systems, was first identified in 2009 and first seen in this country in 2013. Since then, it has caused at least 587 illnesses in the U.S. More than 300 of those cases were reported in New York state. Illinois had 144 confirmed cases, primarily in the Chicago area, and New Jersey had 104.
“This is definitely an alarming development in the global emerging threat of superbugs,” Dr. Neeta Ogden, an internal medicine specialist, told CBS News.
“It’s resistant to multiple anti-fungal drugs that we have, and it’s also resistant to all the things that we use to eradicate bacteria and fungal strains in the hospital.”
CBS New York reports an elderly man died from the fungus last year at Mount Sinai Hospital following abdominal surgery. The fungus has caused illnesses globally with reports in more than 20 countries.
What kind of infections does Candida auris cause?
Candida auris can cause different types of infections, including bloodstream infection, wound infection, and ear infection.
The fungus has also been detected in respiratory and urine samples, but the CDC says it’s unclear if it causes lung or bladder infections.
Who is at risk of illness from Candida auris?
Candida auris infections have been reported in health care settings throughout the world, including hospitals and long-term care facilities like nursing homes. People who recently had surgery, live in nursing homes, or who have breathing tubes, feeding tubes or central venous catheters appear to be at highest risk.
“This strain is preying on people with weakened immune systems,” Ogden said. “So who is that? Long-term health care facility residents who have catheters, in-dwelling catheters or IV lines. People in hospitals, IUCs. Newborns. And also people who take immunosuppressant drugs for medical illnesses, or have diabetes. So those are the people who really are at risk.”
The germ has been found in patients of all ages, from preterm infants to older adults.
How is Candida auris spread?
Candida strains “live in our gut microbiome,” Ogden explained. The drug-resistant strain Candida auris has taken hold in some health care settings, spreading person to person or through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment. Healthy people with strong immune systems may carry the germ without actually getting sick from it.
Ogden said health officials are worried about what could come next.
“The greater concern is that if we don’t curb this rise of superbugs, where is this headed? It’s headed towards normal, healthy people with no health problems becoming vulnerable to these types of fungal strains, and not having anything in our defenses of antimicrobials and antifungals to fight them,” she said.
How are Candida auris infections diagnosed?
According to the CDC, symptoms of Candida auris may be difficult to detect because patients are often already sick. Only a lab test can identify the superbug.
Infections are usually diagnosed by culture of blood or other body fluids.
Are Candida auris infections treatable?
While most Candida auris infections are treatable with antifungal medications, health officials say they’re concerned that some have proven to be resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications.
“In this situation, multiple antifungal medications at high doses may be needed to treat the infection,” the CDC said.
“It’s an enormous problem,” Matthew Fisher, a professor of fungal epidemiology at Imperial College London, told The New York Times. “We depend on being able to treat those patients with antifungals.” Fisher co-authored a recent scientific review documenting the rise of drug-resistant fungi.
How often do the infections turn deadly?
Since Candida auris infections generally occur in people who are already sick with serious medical conditions, it can be difficult to determine cause of death.
“Based on information from a limited number of patients, 30–60% of people with C. auris infections have died,” the CDC says. “However, many of these people had other serious illnesses that also increased their risk of death.”
When most people think of “air quality,” they think of the outdoors; the smog, haze, even pollen.
But what many people don’t realize is that factors inside the home can also lead to poor air quality, causing potentially serious health risks.
10TV found out why indoor air quality tends to become more of an issue when the temperature drops.
What it really comes down to, according to Alisha Hopkins, a certified nurse practitioner with the Breathing Association, is the simple fact that when it gets colder outside, people tend to stay in their homes for longer periods at a time.
That means more exposure to all the particles, molds and bacteria inside the home.
“Your home is your safe harbor and then all of a sudden, now, it’s this area of just triggers everywhere,” Hopkins said. “So no matter where you go there’s a trigger. …We always think of the outside but we forget that our home is one of the places that we literally lay our heads down, we relax in, and if you’re relaxing in a bunch of dirt, relaxing in pet dander, the fur, that too will make our breathing that much worse.
One woman told 10TV she notices a difference in her breathing as soon as the holiday decorations come out.
“I just start to get the stuffy nose, the watery eyes and then my asthma really kicks up,” said Cindy Groeniger, vice chair for the American Lung Association local leadership board.
Groeniger has suffered from asthma since she was just 10 months old, she said.
“Every fall season it’s bad because I decorate and then you have, you know, mold or dust maybe on your decorations so I have to watch that,” Groeniger said. “Sometimes I have to increase my medicine for the holidays.”
Tips for improving indoor air quality can be simple, Hopkins said.
Vacuum your mattresses, carpet, couches and chairs inside to get ride of dirt, particles and pet dander that could build up over the year.
Groom pets heading into the colder months. Many pets tend to shed more in the fall but grooming them can decrease the amount of pet dander in the air.
Use air filters and humidifiers, making sure to clean them out regularly to avoid mildew and mold buildup.
Wipe down handles, door knobs and surfaces, keeping them free of germs. Because people tend to stay inside more through the winter, illnesses can spread easier from person to person.
Replace furnace filters before cranking up the heat.
Fall is also a good time to make sure that furnaces are carbon monoxide-free, Hopkins said that. Double check carbon monoxide detectors in the home to make sure they are working properly.
For more information on indoor air quality, click here.
House fires are terrifying because the flames can cause intense bodily harm that results in serious injury and even death. Once the fire is put out, many homeowners are relieved in the sense that the threat to their life or health has ended. However, the flames themselves are not the only potential source of health issues. Many of the byproducts of a fire are toxic. Fires leave behind smoke, soot, corrosive byproducts, and even mold that negatively affects your health. It is important to know the health risks caused by the byproducts of a fire to keep yourself and your family safe in the aftermath.
All fires involve smoke and everyone knows that smoke inhalation is extremely dangerous because of the chemicals it contains. Smoke is the byproduct of incomplete combustion and contains the following toxins:
Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN): The potential health effects of carbon monoxide are well known as many homes have carbon monoxide detectors for safety. Less people know about the risks of the other major chemical in smoke, hydrogen cyanide. Hydrogen cyanide is over 30 times more toxic than carbon monoxide and inhaling a combination of both can be deadly. Smoke inhalation is the leading cause of fire related deaths.
Chemicals from Burnt Materials: When materials such as wood, drywall, and flooring are burned in a fire, they release hundreds of chemicals in the smoke that are harmful to your health. Some of the dangerous chemicals released by burning household materials include hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen chloride, carboxylic acids, nitrogen oxides, acid gases, sulfur dioxide, and much more.
After the fire and smoke have cleared, there is still a substance present that can spread throughout the home and cause health issues as well as property damage; soot. Soot is dangerous because it spreads and settles everywhere including the air ducts where it can get redistributed into the air. Most health problems caused by soot result from inhalation but soot can also get absorbed in the skin and eyes. The main health effects from soot include lung irritation and respiratory issues such as bronchitis and asthma as well as more serious issues including heart attack, stroke, and even cancer.
Few people associate mold growth with house fires but if a house fire is extinguished with water, this excess moisture can quickly lead to mold growth. Moisture is the main cause of mold growth and organic materials that are wet from putting out the fire can become contaminated with mold within 48 hours. Mold not only adds to the health risks already present after a fire, but also causes even more property damage that makes the restoration process longer and more expensive.
If a fire breaks out in your home, make sure that everyone evacuates safely and do not return to your home until it has been restored and deemed safe. The byproducts of a fire are just as dangerous as the fire itself and can cause serious health effects long after the fire has been put out. It is of extreme importance to begin the fire damage restoration as soon as possible by hiring professionals that can safely remove dangerous byproducts from soot and smoke. These professionals have effective cleaning products and personal protective equipment to keep themselves safe during the restoration process
Expert in emergency fire and water restoration services, fire cleanup and water damage cleanup, mold removal, as well as carpet and upholstery cleaning services. Contributor to several restoration and cleaning blogs.
With wildfires burning throughout the state, in addition to recent local grass fires, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District continues to warn the public about poor air quality, including incidents of severely bad air that may occur sporadically in the coming days.
For a few hours late Saturday, the amount of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) in the air spiked in Bakersfield and all eight counties across the San Joaquin Valley air district, to a Level 5, the highest level, where all people are advised to remain indoors.
By the next day, Bakersfield had clearer skies and air quality was back down to a moderate range. District officials said winds temporarily pushed smoke into the valley during that several hour period.
“All that pollution literally just inundated the entire San Joaquin Valley,” said Cassandra Melching, outreach and communication representative for the air district.
Because the air can be safe at one point in the day and dangerous at another, depending upon wind flows, Melching said an air quality alert is standing for all areas.
On Saturday, regions farther north in close proximity to the fire were substantially affected, Melching said, with Oakhurst in Madera County reaching a PM 2.5 concentration of 246 micrograms per cubic meter. It takes only 75 micrograms to reach level five risk. Bakersfield hit 87 micrograms that same day.
“We can’t quite say who is going to be impacted the most and when…It doesn’t mean that every single day our air quality is bad,” Melching said.
Glen Stephens, air pollution control officer of the Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control District, said the district has not released any alerts, but is tracking the smoke levels. He said there is less of a concern in eastern Kern County and mountain areas compared to valley locations like Bakersfield, but that there is still poor air quality.
“It’s generally bad. Right now it’s bad because of ozone, not because of the fire,” Stephens said.
The best way to know whether it is safe to be outdoors is by tracking your location on the Valley Air app or online at valley air.org. It is especially important for sensitive groups such as the elderly and those with asthma to remain cautious and updated.
Melching said to also be aware of the potential for ash in the air, which is most likely when temperatures cool down and is not monitored in the air quality levels.
“If you smell smoke, or if you see ash falling, you are being impacted,” Melching said.
Ways to reduce your risk of being affected by the smoke are to limit outdoor exercise, stay hydrated, change your air air filters and keep windows shut.