More than 50 million Americans, about 20 percent of the population, will develop an allergy-related disease at some point in their lives. Asthma alone afflicts an estimated 10 to 20 million Americans. Asthma is a major reason for trips to the emergency room and for work and school absenteeism. The economic burden of asthma in 1990 was estimated at $6.2 billion, a 39 percent increase since 1985. This information, combined with steady increases in the occurrence and severity of asthma and other allergic diseases, raises concerns about the potential adverse health effects of indoor air and the extent to which the indoor environment can be controlled.
Indoor allergens may be responsible for a large portion of allergic diseases, including asthma, hay fever, chronic bronchitis, "sick building" syndrome, and allergic skin reactions. The increased incidence, prevalence, and severity of these conditions may be the result of Americans' spending more than 90 percent of the day inside buildings that are increasingly airtight and that frequently contain numerous sources of allergens, including dust mites, fungi, house pets, rodents, cockroaches, and certain chemicals.
On the basis of these concerns, several Federal agencies requested that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) evaluate the public health significance of indoor allergens. The Committee on the Health Effects of Indoor Allergens was created by the IOM Board on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. This multidisciplinary committee included nationally renowned allergists, immunologists, biomedical engineers, epidemiologists, psychologists, physicians, and other health professionals.
In short, allergens are substances that are recognized by our body’s immune system and cause an allergic response. These environmental substances may illicit severe symptoms in some individuals, and nothing in other people. Allergy symptoms are the result of the immune system flagging a foreign substance as a problem.
How Can Elite Environmental Services LLC Help You?
We’ll start by asking a series of questions to understand the background and history of the building envelope then follow up with a visual inspection. We may recommend an environmental sample, such as a dust sample, to quantify the presence of a specific allergen. If we do find an allergen in high concentrations, we’ll put together a plan for you to control that allergen.