Hazmat - Asbestos Testing Company

Contaminated Buildings / Houses – Hazardous to Health

In many dilapidated buildings and structures, particularly those that have been vacant or derelict for a period of time, additional hazards may be present from biological materials.

Adequate facilities must be provided for employees to maintain hygiene standards onsite. This can range from hand wash facilities through to full decontamination facilities. The employer should undertake a hazard assessment to accurately determine what level of these will be required for the project.

Examples:

Leptospirosis:
Contracted from rat/mice droppings also from infected Possums:
a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals and is highly contagious. In humans, it causes a wide range of symptoms and in some cases an infected person may not show any symptoms at all. Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, severe headaches, chills, muscle aches, rashes, vomiting and jaundice. If not treated, the infected persons can develop kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation around the brain), liver failure and respiratory distress. In rare cases, it is fatal.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS):
Humans can contract HPS by breathing in the aerosolised virus from the faeces and urine of infected rodents.
Although rare, it is a serious and potentially fatal disease.

Histoplasmosis: Guano (Bird Droppings)
a common fungal infection amongst wild birds. It can spread to humans by inhaling spores found in the bird’s droppings (either directly from the droppings or from the disturbance of contaminated soil). The primary result of histoplasmosis is acute respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, rashes and joint pain or stiffness.

Blastomycosis:
a fungal infection that is spread to humans by inhaling spores (either directly from bird droppings or from the disturbance of contaminated soil). The primary effect is lesions to the lungs and skin. The disease then spreads to the bones, liver, spleen, and central nervous system. This disease is often found in conjunction with histoplasmosis, tuberculosis, bronchogenic carcinoma or severe pulmonary disease.

Tuberculosis: (TB)
Contracted from Possum Droppings & Urine
This is a contagious disease. Humans can contract TB by breathing in the aerosolised virus from the faeces and urine of infected possums. Like the common cold, it spreads through the air. Only people who are sick with TB in their lungs are infectious.

Black mould /Fungi: Strachybotrys chartarum or strachybotrys atra
These produce spore containing mycotoxins which can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin. Symptoms can range from flu-like to diarrhoea.
This can be particularly harmful to the young, old and sick.

Footnote
[3] Ministry for the Environment: Construction and Demolition Waste www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/waste/construction-demo/index.html

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