IAQ – Mold And Other Common Indoor Pollutants

Air Ducts

“Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?”

Air Cleaners

Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) provides information on certified air cleaners:

EPA’s opinion on Ozone Generators


MDEQ enforces rules for building demolitions and renovations; however, this does not include residential housing (except for apartment buildings with four or more units, projects with multiple residential buildings at a site, residential installations, or some larger projects). The MDEQ asbestos program provides compliance inspections for building renovations and demolitions to comply with National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), and also for nonprofit schools to comply with the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). Symptoms of Asbestosis will often take 15-30 years after exposure conditions before they appear. Asbestos fibers are about 1/100th the thickness of human hair and cannot be seen without the aid of a microscope. Avoid damaging asbestos containing materials by grinding, sanding, sawing, etc. If asbestos containing materials in your home must be disturbed, consult your local yellow pages for a qualified contractor. Contractors working on nonresidential buildings must be certified by the MDEQ certification branch. A list of certified inspectors and contractors can be obtained from MDEQ. Contact Greg Mallery at (601) 961-5592.

Asthma & Allergies

Information on Asthma and Allergies is available from the following organization (just click on the name)

Biological Contaminants

Biological contaminants include bacteria, viruses, animal dander and cat saliva, dust mites, cockroaches, and pollen.

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

CO is a colorless, odorless gas that interferes with the delivery of oxygen throughout the body. CO detectors are widely available.

Fireplaces, Wood stoves, Wood heaters, Wood boilers

The major pollutants released from these sources are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and fine particles. Unvented kerosene heaters may also generate acid aerosols. (Recent regulatory requirements require wood boilers to be no closer than 100 ft from a residence).

Note on mobile homes, travel trailers and cottages:

Formaldehyde is a common ingredient in pressed-wood products, including particle board, and can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, wheezing and coughing, fatigue, skin rashes, headaches, nosebleeds, and severe allergic reactions. Formaldehyde levels are generally much higher in the warmer months. Good ventilation and time can dilute and reduce levels quite a bit.

Household Cleaning Chemicals and Sprays

Safe household cleaners


Symptoms from Fiberglass will typically go away after being removed or encapsulated. Fiberglass is not regulated and is widely used, but should not be breathed. There are some alternatives to fiberglass insulation (such as polyester and sheet foam). One technical paper concluded that wet spray-applied cellulose insulation (typically 30-40% water), when used in the walls of indoor environments, can become very moldy and result in unacceptable risk to occupants. It is recommended that fiberglass insulation be kept neatly contained (not hanging out) and use proper personal protective equipment to avoid exposure during installation or maintenance activities. Replace ceiling panels and repair disconnected ventilation ducts if needed.


Please visit MDEQ’s webpage on lead paint. Paint containing Lead and Cadmium can become airborne if sanded. Fine particles can be distributed and settle throughout the house via air ducts.

Test Kits for Lead

For more information on detecting lead in your home and various do-it-yourself test kits, review the following study from Consumer Reports.


Hay fever-like symptoms such as stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation may be the result of a high concentration of mold spores. In worse cases Mycotoxins from molds has been linked to symptoms like headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.

Mold needs water and a food source (building materials) to grow. If one removes the water and moisture and keeps it dry, the mold cannot grow.

Note on Mobile homes:

Water may leak from the metal siding or roof (of those that do not have shingles). Any exposed nail or screws in metal siding should be sealed so water does not seep into the wall cavities. Some walls have no barrier between the outer metal siding and inner dry wall sheeting to resist moisture. If a leak is suspected, it may be worthwhile to check the inner wall cavity for mold and correct any problems as soon as possible.


National Pesticide Information Center

To read an EPA introductory booklet and this topic


U.S. Surgeon General Health Advisory
“Indoor radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and breathing it over prolonged periods can present a significant health risk to families all over the country. It’s important to know that this threat is completely preventable. Radon can be detected with a simple test and fixed through well-established venting techniques.” January 2005

EPA Radon Website

One may also call the Radon hotline number at the National Safety Council (800) SOS-RADON or (800) 55-RADON

Compared to other states, most of Mississippi has a low predictive indoor radon screening. Radon levels in Alcorn, Union, Pontotoc, Lee, Chickasaw, Clay, Lowndes, and Noxubee have a medium predictive level. To view radon maps of any state, click here.

Schools: The Indoor Radon Program in Mississippi provides free screening for schools in participating areas. Call 1-800-626-7739 or (601) 987-6893.

Smoke (Tobacco Smoke and Second Hand Smoke)

Aside from adding a decade to appearance, graying and wrinkling skin, becoming a gruff baritone, morning coughing, staining, stenching, and other annoyances, smoking can have some devastating health affects on everyone in the house including pets especially if combined with other types of air pollution. Refer to the following sites for more information.

Vapor Intrusion

Toxic Vapors can migrate into your home from the ground through cracks in foundations or utility spaces.

For more information on Vapor Intrusion, you may contact Thomas Wallace at 601-961-5240.