-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Simply by entering a
room, you can add up to 37 million bacteria to the air every hour,
according to a new study.
Most of this airborne bacteria is left behind by previous
occupants and stirred up from the floor when you enter, Yale
University researchers said.
"We live in this microbial soup, and a big ingredient is our own microorganisms," principal investigator Jordan Peccia, an associate professor of environmental engineering, said in a Yale news release.
"Mostly people are re-suspending what's been deposited before. The floor dust turns out to be the major source of the bacteria that we breathe," he explained.
He and his colleagues measured and analyzed biological particles
in a single, ground-floor university classroom over a period of
eight days -- four days when the room was periodically occupied,
and four days when it was continuously vacant. The windows and
doors were kept closed for all eight days.
When people were in the room, there was a substantial increase
in airborne concentrations of bacteria and fungus of various sizes.
About 18 percent of fresh and previously deposited bacteria in the
room came from people, as opposed to plants and other sources.
This type of research could help efforts to develop new ways of
improving indoor air quality, said Peccia, adding that Americans
spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors.
"All those infectious diseases we get, we get indoors," he noted.
The study was recently released online in advance of print
publication in an upcoming issue of the journal
The American Lung Association has more about
indoor air quality.
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