Bayamon, Puerto Rico -- It is estimated that there are between 70,000 and 180,000 people living in Puerto Rico that are compulsive hoarders. These individuals display a pattern of behavior where the excessive acquisition of items and the inability to discard items can result in a person’s home being overrun with things.
Many compulsive hoarders keep the condition of their home a secret from family, friends and neighbors. This is often due to the negative social consequences compulsive hoarders may feel. However, compulsive hoarding can also lead to serious health and safety concerns. It can even cause or exacerbate a number of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) issues. These IEQ issues range from exposure risks to mold, bacteria, odors, dusts and particulate matter (PM) to ventilation and humidity problems. For example, in a compulsive hoarding situation, air vents and returns could be obstructed preventing proper ventilation and the changing of air filters. Temperature extremes and humidity problems could result and if the humidity levels are too high, mold could begin to grow and dust mites can thrive.
“A major issue we encounter in the homes of compulsive hoarders is water damage that is out-of-sight supporting the growth of mold,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “The longer a leak in the building envelop or plumbing goes on, the bigger the mold problem becomes in most circumstances. Keeping these homes clean can also be a real challenge for hoarders. Exposure to an accumulation of dust and particulate matter can cause or exacerbate numerous respiratory conditions. In some hoarding situations, household garbage or waste from pets can litter a home. This creates odor issues, attracts insects and rodents, and could support the growth of mold and some potentially dangerous types of bacteria.”
Helping to identify and mitigate exposure concerns in residential properties of all types are the indoor air quality (IAQ) and building science professionals at Zimmetry Environmental. Their experts can assess existing and potential future exposure concerns and develop solutions to help ensure a healthy indoor environment. Zimmetry also recently sponsored an educational video about hoarding and IEQ that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/xffpK_OYYS0