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Concept: Basement


The indoor biome is a novel habitat which recent studies have shown exhibit not only high microbial diversity, but also high arthropod diversity. Here, we analyze findings from a survey of 50 houses (southeastern USA) within the context of additional survey data concerning house and room features, along with resident behavior, to explore how arthropod diversity and community composition are influenced by physical aspects of rooms and their usage, as well as the lifestyles of human residents. We found that indoor arthropod diversity is strongly influenced by access to the outdoors and carpeted rooms hosted more types of arthropods than non-carpeted rooms. Arthropod communities were similar across most room types, but basements exhibited more unique community compositions. Resident behavior such as house tidiness, pesticide usage, and pet ownership showed no significant influence on arthropod community composition. Arthropod communities across all rooms in houses exhibit trophic structure-with both generalized predators and scavengers included in the most frequently found groups. These findings suggest that indoor arthropods serve as a connection to the outdoors, and that there is still much yet to be discovered about their impact on indoor health and the unique ecological dynamics within our homes.

Concepts: Arthropod, Ecology, Natural resource, Community, House, Rooms, Basement, Room


The occurrence of dampness and mold in the indoor environment is associated with respiratory-related disease outcomes. Thus, it is pertinent to know the magnitude of such indoor environment problems to be able to estimate the potential health impact in the population. In the present study, the moisture damage in 10,112 Norwegian dwellings was recorded based on building inspection reports. The levels of moisture damage were graded based on a condition class (CC), where CC0 is immaculate and CC1 acceptable (actions not required), while CC2 and CC3 indicate increased levels of damage that requires action. Of the 10,112 dwellings investigated, 3125 had verified moisture or mold damage. This amounts to 31% of the surveyed dwellings. Of these, 27% had CC2 as the worst grade, whereas 4% had CC3 as the worst grade level. The room types and building structures most prone to moisture damage were (in rank order) crawl spaces, basements, un-insulated attics, cooling rooms, and bathrooms. The high proportion of homes with moisture damage indicate a possible risk for respiratory diseases in a relatively large number of individuals, even if only the more extensive moisture damages and those located in rooms where occupants spend the majority of their time would have a significant influence on adverse health effects.

Concepts: Respiratory disease, Grade, Building, House, Damage, Graded algebra, Rooms, Basement


Diesel exhaust (DE) emissions from a parking garage located in the basement of a school were characterized during spring and winter using direct reading devices and integrated sampling methods. Concentrations of CO and NO2 were evaluated using electrochemical sensors and passive colorimetric tubes, respectively. Elemental and total carbon concentrations were measured using the NIOSH 5040 method. Particle number concentrations (PNCs), respirable particulate matter (PMresp) mass concentrations, and size distributions were evaluated using direct reading devices. Indoor concentrations of elemental carbon, PNC, CO, and NO2 showed significant seasonal variation; concentrations were much higher during winter (p < 0.01). Concentrations of the PMresp and total carbon did not show significant seasonal variation. Pearson correlation coefficients were 0.9 (p < 0.01) and 0.94 (p < 0.01) between the parking garage and ground floor average daily PNCs, and between the parking garage and first floor average daily PNCs, respectively. Since DE is the main identified source of fine and ultrafine particles in the school, these results suggest that DE emissions migrate from the parking garage into the school. Our results highlight the relevance of direct reading instruments in identifying migration of contaminants and suggest that monitoring PNC is a more specific way of assessing exposure to DE than monitoring the common PMresp fraction.

Concepts: Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, Season, Diesel particulate matter, Exhaust gas, Soot, Storey, Floor, Basement


This study presents the results of indoor radon and thoron activity concentrations of some municipalities in central and south part of Serbia: Krusevac, Brus, Blace and Kursumlija. Measurements were carried out in 60 dwellings during the winter season. Passive discriminative radon-thoron detectors known as UFO detectors were used. The mean values of indoor radon and thoron concentrations were 82 Bq m(-3) and 42 Bq m(-3), respectively. Population-weighted mean values were 76 Bq m(-3) and 40 Bq m(-3), respectively. 26.7% of dwellings had radon concentration higher than 100 Bq m(-3) (one location had even more than 300 Bq m(-3)). There are no statistically significant correlations of indoor radon and thoron concentrations neither with the period of house construction, nor with the existence of a basement. The results of this study represent the first step of investigating radon and thoron levels in these parts of Serbia and therefore could be the basis for creating a radon map.

Concepts: Statistics, Chemical equilibrium, Mean, House, Winter, Basement, Toplica District, Rasina District


Ventilation standards, health and indoor air quality have not been adequately examined for residential weatherization. This randomized trial showed how ASHRAE 62-1989 (n=39 houses) and ASHRAE 62.2-2010 (n=42 houses) influenced ventilation rates, moisture balance, indoor air quality and self-reported physical and mental health outcomes. Average total air flow was nearly twice as high for ASHRAE 62.2-2010 (79 vs. 39 cfm). Volatile organic compounds, and carbon dioxide were all significantly reduced for the newer standard and first-floor radon was marginally lower, but for the older standard, only formaldehyde significantly decreased. Humidity in the ASHRAE 62.2-2010 group was only about half that of the ASHRAE 62-1989 group using the moisture balance metric. Radon was higher in the basement but lower on the first floor for ASHRAE 62.2-2010. Children in each group had fewer headaches, eczema and skin allergies after weatherization and adults had improvements in psychological distress. Indoor air quality and health improve when weatherization is accompanied by an ASHRAE residential ventilation standard and the 2010 ASHRAE standard has greater improvements in certain outcomes compared to the 1989 standard. Weatherization, home repair and energy conservation projects should use the newer ASHRAE standard to improve indoor air quality and health. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Carbon, Indoor air quality, HVAC, Copyright, Infiltration, Storey, Basement


Measurements of air dose rates for 192 houses in a less contaminated area (<0.5 μSv h(-1)) of the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan were conducted in both living rooms and/or bedrooms using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dosimeters and around the houses via a man-borne survey at intervals of several meters. The relation of the two air dose rates (inside and outside) for each house, including the background from natural radionuclides, was divided into several categories, determined by construction materials (light and heavy) and floor number, with the dose reduction factors being expressed as the ratio of the dose inside to that outside the house. For wooden and lightweight steel houses (classed as light), the dose rates inside and outside the houses showed a positive correlation and linear regression with a slope-intercept form due to the natural background, although the degree of correlation was not very high. The regression coefficient, i.e., the average dose reduction factor, was 0.38 on the first floor and 0.49 on the second floor. It was found that the contribution of natural radiation cannot be neglected when we consider dose reduction factors in less contaminated areas. The reductions in indoor dose rates are observed because a patch of ground under each house is not contaminated (this is the so-called uncontaminated effect) since the shielding capability of light construction materials is typically low. For reinforced steel-framed concrete houses (classed as heavy), the dose rates inside the houses did not show a correlation with those outside the houses due to the substantial shielding capability of these materials. The average indoor dose rates were slightly higher than the arithmetic mean value of the outdoor dose rates from the natural background because concrete acts as a source of natural radionuclides. The characteristics of the uncontaminated effect were clarified through Monte Carlo simulations. It was found that there is a great variation in air dose rates even within one house, depending on the height of the area and its closeness to the outside boundary. Measurements of outdoor dose rates required consideration of local variations depending on the environment surrounding each house. The representative value was obtained from detailed distributions of air dose rates around the house, as measured by a man-borne survey. Therefore, it is imperative to recognize that dose reduction factors fluctuate in response to various factors such as the size and shape of a house, construction materials acting as a shield and as sources, position (including height) within a room, floor number, total number of floors, and surrounding environment.

Concepts: Ionizing radiation, Arithmetic mean, Mean, Building, Storey, Floor, Basement, Floors


Radon and thoron are radioactive gases that can emanate from soil and building materials, and it can accumulate in indoor environments. The concentrations of radon and thoron in the air from various workplace categories in Brisbane, Australia were measured using an active method. The average radon and thoron concentrations for all workplace categories were 10.5 ± 11.3 and 8.2 ± 1.4 Bq m(-3), respectively. The highest radon concentration was detected in a confined area, 86.6 ± 6.0 Bq m(-3), while the maximum thoron level was found in a storage room, 78.1 ± 14.0 Bq m(-3). At each site, the concentrations of radon and thoron were measured at two heights, 5 cm and 120 cm above the floor. The effect of the measurement heights on the concentration level was significant in the case of thoron. The monitoring of radon and thoron concentrations showed a lower radon concentration during work hours than at other times of the day. This can be attributed to the ventilation systems, including the air conditioner and natural ventilation, which normally operate during work hours. The diurnal variation was less observed in the case of thoron, as the change in its concentration during and after the working hours was insignificant. The study also investigated the influence of the floor level and flooring type on indoor radon and thoron concentrations. The elevated levels of radon and thoron were largely found in basements and ground floor levels and in rooms with concrete flooring.

Concepts: HVAC, Building, Rooms, Radon, Building materials, Storey, Floor, Basement


Exposure to elevated levels of radon in homes has been shown to result in an increased risk of developing lung cancer. The two largest contributors to indoor radon are radon in soil gas, formed from the rocks and soil surrounding the home, and building materials such as aggregate. This study measured the surface radon exhalation rates for 35 aggregate samples collected from producers across Canada. The radon exhalation rates ranged from 2.3 to 479.9 Bq m(-2) d(-1), with a mean of 80.7±112 Bq m(-2) d(-1). Using a simple, conservative analysis, the aggregate contribution to radon concentrations in an unfinished basement was determined. The maximum estimated radon concentration was 32.5±2.7 Bq m(-3), or ∼16 % of the Canadian Radon Guideline. It can be concluded that under normal conditions radon exhalation from aggregate contributes very little to the total radon concentration in indoor air.

Concepts: Cancer, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Concentration, Canada, Granite, Radon, Basement


Available radon mitigation results were gathered for 85 houses mainly by installing sub-slab depressurization systems (SSDS) with two types of discharge and fan locations: Above ground level discharge with the fan located in the basement (AGL) or above roof line discharge with the fan located in the attic (ARL). A comparative analysis was made of mitigation efficiency and of exhaust icing. Results show that both SSDS scenarios reduced radon levels similarly. The results of SSDS with AGL show that a sealed radon fan having proper fittings and sealed piping was able to reduce the radon to acceptable levels, and that these installations were less subject to obstructive icing of the exhaust in cold climates.

Concepts: Electrochemistry, Proper, Basement


ABSTRACT This study assessed the composition of aeromycota at a grain mill and four dwellings (two apartments and two basements) as well as in outdoor air during one year in Zagreb, Croatia. The incidence of Aspergilli from sections Flavi, Nigri, and Versicolores was also assessed. Airborne fungi were collected using an air-sampler and DG-18 agar plates. The average concentrations of airborne fungi in the grain mill ranged from 14,310 to 40,000 cfu m-3, which was above the hazardous level (104 cfu m-3), whereas the values statistically estimated using Feller’s correction were up to six times higher. Concentrations in the apartment (163-1244 cfu m-3) were lower than in outdoor air (286-2090 cfu m-3) and lower than in the basement (697-1203 cfu m-3), except in the warmer period of the year when they were similar. The most abundant species throughout the year were Cladosporium spp. (90-100 %), Penicillium spp. (40-100 %), and Alternaria spp. (10-100 %), which are common for temperate climates. Aspergilli from the Flavi (50- 100 %) and Nigri (15-40 %) sections as well as A. ochraceus (15-60 %) and Eurotium spp. (85-100 %) were the most abundant at the grain mill and were rarely found in outdoor air. In the basement, Aspergilli (Versicolores) were more abundant than in the apartment. The excess of aeromycoparticles in the grain mill throughout the year may have represented a serious health risk to mill workers. This is the first Croatian one-year study of indoor airborne fungi in a grain mill and dwellings; however monitoring should continue over a longer period.

Concepts: Climate, Penicillium, House, Croatia, Apartment, Basement, History of Croatia, Culture of Croatia