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Global burden of indoor air contaminants on our economy

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The Global Indoor Health Network (GIHN) announces its expanded and updated position statement titled "Common Toxins in our Homes, Schools and Workplaces." GIHN added an important, new section that presents statistics and financial costs of indoor air contaminants and the impact on our global economy. This new section includes historical and recent information about indoor air pollution including key reports that were published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the State of Massachusetts, Special Legislative Commission on Indoor Air Pollution, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

As you read this new section, you will understand the enormous impact on our global society as literally millions of individuals and families are harmed by contaminants inside our homes, schools and workplaces. The financial costs are staggering with estimates in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

If you look at the other side of the equation, billions of dollars could be saved if we implemented specific steps aimed at improving indoor air quality in U.S. office buildings. According to a 2000 report by William J. Fisk with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, "the estimated potential annual economic savings plus productivity gains, in 1996 dollars, are approximately $40 to $200 billion."

Imagine how big those savings would be if we also made these changes in schools, homes and other structures around the world.

The GIHN position statement highlights the main threats to human health hidden in our homes, schools and workplaces. The list of indoor air pollutants is extensive and includes mold, bacteria, mycotoxins, endotoxins, microbial particulates, radon, lead, asbestos, chemicals, pesticides, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and other contaminants. Many of these contaminants occur inside water-damaged buildings (WDB), but some of these exist in buildings without water damage. Some sick buildings lead to slowly deteriorating disease while others can bring death quickly.

The new section of the paper mentions the findings of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 study that was just announced by the WHO on December 14, 2012. Because of the significant number of research papers that have been published regarding the health effects of mold, including key reports by the WHO, we would have expected that the findings of the GBD 2010 study would include a discussion on indoor microbial contamination. Unfortunately, there was nary a reference to mold, mould, fungi, microbial or biological contaminants in any of the seven articles. This is a glaring omission. It's very disappointing that they neglected to address this important public health issue in the study.

Written by treating physicians and researchers in the field, this paper is a collaborative effort which provides detailed information on the pathophysiology and diagnosis of illness caused by mold, as well as details regarding the treatment protocols used by some of the leading physicians. We have highlighted the extensive research which clearly demonstrates many of these principles.

The statistics presented in this paper should catch the attention of every physician, every lawmaker and every layperson. It is time for our world leaders to address this very important, and costly, public health issue.

Authors: Scott McMahon, MD; Janette Hope, MD; Alan Vinitsky, MD; Jack Thrasher, PhD; William Rea, MD; and Michael Gray, MD.

The paper can be found at:

The Global Indoor Health Network (GIHN) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is uniting experts and laypersons from the world. GIHN's vision is a global community of individuals and organizations working together to ensure that comprehensive information and guidance concerning medical treatment, investigative techniques and solutions are available to address the effects of contaminants in the indoor environment of homes, schools and businesses. Visit our website at:


Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
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Cheryl Wisecup is currently an activist for issues relating to the health effects of mold and other indoor contaminants. Her family was exposed to toxic mold in their home caused by mistakes made by a remodeling company. Prior to their toxic mold (more...)
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The health effects of mold and other indoor air co... by Cheryl Wisecup on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 11:20:34 AM
We all should know how to keep our home and work a... by rini920 on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 11:22:48 AM