Study Shows Surpising Trends for Bacteria and Mold in Homes

According to a recent analysis of dust samples from 1200 homes around the country, there can be up to  a few thousand types of bacteria as well as 2000 species of fungi co-habiting with us on a daily basis.

The composition of bacteria and mold can be dependent on if there are pets in the home, the ratio of men to women residing, the climate and the geographic location of homes as well.

The study was performed by allowing citizen scientists to use a website called Your Wild Life to help gather data on microbial life in homes. Volunteers used a sterile cotton-tipped swab to swipe above a door trim indoors, and above a door trim outdoors to allow researchers to observe trends between indoor and outdoor environments.  Participants also completed a survey of questions ranging from the age of their homes to how many windows were left open and whether insecticides had been used lately.

The findings showed that most fungi originated from outdoor environments that were coming inside via airborne and soil particles. Indoor communities of bacteria were actually significantly more diverse than outside communities, and researchers could predict the ratio of men to women living in a home based on the bacterial composition. Additionally, the presence of a dog or cat also changed the bacterial composition as well. The authors wrote, “If you want to change the type of fungi in your home, then you need to move to a different home. If you want to change your bacterial exposure, you have to change who you live with.”

Most mold is harmless to people; however, every single person has a different immune response or allergic reaction towards certain species of mold. An over-abundance of one type of mold might not affect a teenager, but could potentially cause asthma in a very young child or elderly person in the same household. If you suspect you’re getting sick from indoor mold, of course you can’t kick out all the males in your household in the hopes of changing the ‘fungal composition’ in your home (thought it is tempting…), but you can call an expert such as MVP Environmental to inspect for hidden mold growth and provide a solution to remediate your home.

Sources:
Netburn, Deborah. “What the Dust in Your House Reveals about You.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 27 Aug. 2015. <http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-bacteria-dust-home-20150825-story.html>.

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