It’s cold season in most parts of the country and as parents hear their children cough many turn to the use of humidifiers to help the situation. Humidifiers increase the amount of moisture in the air which leads many to believe they help a sick person breathe easier.
This may not be the case however. A recent article in Pediatrics and a discussion on National Public Radio (NPR) recently brought to light that humidifiers may be doing more harm than good. According to the NPR transcript of the discussion, in addition to concerns over burn risks in some older units, humidifiers may be spreading germs, mold and even toxic metals.
Having more humidity may also be detrimental to some building occupants, especially anyone suffering from allergies or asthma. High humidity levels can promote mold growth and dust mites which can be allergy and asthma triggers. Legionella bacteria can also be carried by water droplets in the air. The death rate for people who have contracted Legionnaire’s disease is reported to be between 5% and 30%.
Common types of humidifiers include central humidifiers, ultrasonic humidifiers, impeller humidifiers, evaporators and steam vaporizers. Each type requires monitoring and regular maintenance to ensure that they are working properly, releasing the ideal amount of humidity into the air and that they are not spreading microbial or inorganic pollutants into the air.
The laboratories at EMSL Analytical have been providing residential and commercial properties with indoor air quality testing services for three decades. “It’s important that if humidifiers are used that they be properly maintained,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President at EMSL. “EMSL has the testing solutions to ensure that humidifier reservoirs are not spreading microbial or inorganic contaminants and to test the air to help ensure a healthy environment.”
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.