A review of the effects of indoor air pollution on human health was presented. Immune system function, how changes in immune function affect health and how pollutants affect immunological function were described. The nature of the pollutant, the signs and symptoms of illness and immunological testing were highlighted as useful to help determine the extent of an air pollution problem. In-vivo and in- vitro testing were identified as suitable for detecting the extent of an immunopathological response to a particular pollutant. Skin testing was described as a direct and sensitive in-vivo method, but one that requires interpretation by an experienced physician. The use of in-vitro assays, such as the radioallergosorbent test (RAST), counter immunoelectrophoresis assay (CIEP), enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or radioimmunoassay (RIA), to determine immunoglobulin levels of exposed individuals was reviewed. For those who have signs and symptoms suggestive of immunoglobulin-E mediated allergic reaction (hay fever or asthma symptoms) then skin testing or RAST are the most suitable tests. For individuals with signs and symptoms of immunoglobulin-G reactions (fever, myalgia, malaise, or shortness of breath), then the CIEP, ELISA or RIA are the most suitable tests, but the simple Ouchterlony method can also be useful for screening purposes. Cell mediated reaction determinations are of limited value because of the lack of information as to their exact mechanism. Immunological tests alone cannot be used to confirm a specific diagnosis, and interpretation of results must be made with respect to clinical and environmental findings. Immunocompromised people may be susceptible to airborne infectious agents through heating, ventilation or humidification systems, and there is some evidence that mycotoxins may have immunosuppressive effects. Immunochemical methods may be adapted to detect and quantify airborne pollutants.
Biodeterioration Research 3: Mycotoxins, Biotoxins, Wood Decay, Air Quality, Cultural Properties, General Biodeterioration, and Degradation