Washington DC — In Canada a lawyer is seeking permission to file a class-action suit on behalf of the families of 181 people who contracted legionnaires’ disease three years ago. Fourteen of them lost their lives. According to
a coroner’s report in 2013 public health authorities did not have the proper tools to combat the outbreak..
According to Building Operating Management magazine, expert Victor Yu, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh; Chief, Infectious Disease Section, VA Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA disclosed that “Up to 70% of all buildings greater than three stories in the US may be contaminated with legionella.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2011, Legionnaires’ disease is on the rise, increasing by 217 percent in the last decade – or 18,000 to 20,000 cases annually in the United States. However, many infections are
not diagnosed or reported, so this number may be higher.
Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated with bacteria. Symptoms include coughs, fever, chills and respiratory problems. The deadly bacteria grows in the stagnant water of cooling systems and spreads in little droplets through air conditioning.
Heavy smokers and people with weak immune systems are most at risk of catching the disease, which is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from one person to another. It presents little or no risk to most people, although elderly people are more vulnerable.
Dr. Rajiv Sahay, director of laboratory services at Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) a CDC ELITE lab stated that our “as a result of our CDC ELITE credentials our clients are assured of the highest accuracy scientifically available.” Dr. Sahay further stated that “we look forward to continuing to work with many facilities staff in helping them build a strong proactive Legionella program in their facilities.”
Under the new proposed ASHRAE 188P standard, facility managers are charged with conducting an annual survey to determine what risk is present in their buildings. Specific risk factors called out in the standard include:
- Multiple housing units with one or more centralized water heaters
- More than 10 stories (including levels below grade)
- Cooling tower or evaporative condenser
- One or more whirlpools or spas within or adjacent to building
- Devices that release aerosols (e.g., ornamental fountains, misters, air washers or humidifiers)
- Incoming potable water containing less than 0.5 ppm residual halogen such as chlorine
- Inpatient health care facility
- Occupants primarily older than age 65
- Occupants receiving chemotherapy for cancer or bone marrow transplantation.
Francisco Aguirre, Director of Building Sciences at Pure Air Control Services stated “Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a type of bacteria known as Legionella. It is found naturally in the environment, usually in water. The bacteria grow best in warm water, like the kind found in cooling towers, hot water tanks, plumbing systems, decorative fountains and hot tubs.’
For more information on developing a proactive Legionella testing program for your buildings call the Building Scientists at Pure Air Control Services or go to: Environmental Diagnostics laboratory (EDlab) Edlab.org, a CDC ELITE laboratory (contact Dr. Rajiv Sahay 1-800-422-7873 ext 303). DIY Legionella kits are available at: www.INDOORAIRTEST.com and other fine retailers.
About Pure Air Control Services, Inc.
Alan Wozniak founded Pure Air Control Services, Inc. in 1984 as a small mechanical contracting firm. Today, the firm sets the industry standard for indoor environmental quality diagnosis and remediation.
Pure Air Control Services nationally performed services include: Building Sciences Evaluation; Building Health Check; EDLab a CDC ELITE accredited Environmental Microbiology Laboratory; Environmental Project Management; PURE-Steam Coil Cleaning, HVAC system cleaning and Mold Remediation Services, among other indoor environmental services.
The company’s expanding client roster includes the Jones, Lang LaSalle (JLL), FAA, General Services Administration (GSA); Allstate Insurance; CBRE, Carrier Air Conditioning; NAVFAC, DOT, USACE, US Army, and many other Fortune 500 companies, school boards, and city, state, and county governments, making Pure Air Control Services the reliable industry leader.
For more information on Pure Air Control Services, Inc. please contact Alan Wozniak or Dr Rajiv Sahay (800) 422-7873 ext 802 or 303 respectively.