EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times and occasionally more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels. Approximately 75% of indoor air quality issues are HVAC related and 90% of homes do not clean contaminated air ducts. These contaminations (pathogens) are major contributors to: Allergies, Colds, Flus, Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and Sleep Disorder, among many others.
In the Western world, humans spend 90% of their time indoors. For years scientists have sounded the alarm that our disconnect from the outdoors is linked to a host of chronic health problems, including allergies, asthma, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and obesity. More recently, experts in various fields have begun studying why buildings, even those designed to be as germ-free as possible, are vectors for disease. A “misalignment with nature” in building design is partly to blame for our scourge of chronic diseases. The relative lack of air flow and sunlight is an obvious issue; temperature, humidity, and indoor air pollution also play a role. But there’s another, less discussed factor: the microbiome (population of microbes that in our body) of the built environment, which encompasses trillions of microbes including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. 3
The “microbiome helps produce vitamins, hormones, and other chemicals vital to our immune system, metabolism, mood, and much more. Like our bodies, the buildings we inhabit are also teeming with microbes. In recent decades, our personal microbiomes have been altered by factors such as poor dietary habits, over prescription of antibiotics, overuse of disinfectants and other germ fighters, and dwindling contact with beneficial microbes on animals and in nature. 3 Over time microbes have adapted to survive, and even thrive, everywhere from our pillowcases and toothbrushes to the more extreme climates of our dishwashers, showerheads, ovens, and freezers. Many are derived from humans, or likely feed off human debris. More species of bacteria have been found in homes than there are species of birds and mammals on Earth. 3
A more serious risk is that, attempts to sterilize our surroundings can kill off bacteria critical for human health—or, even worse, inadvertently promote the survival and evolution of more dangerous bugs, including antibiotic-resistant superbugs. 3
“We should be worried,” says Rob Knight, founding director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation “If we’re overzealously stripping off all the bacteria that would naturally be there, then we may be creating homes for bacteria and maybe even viruses that are harder to remove.” No amount of chemicals will get rid of everything, and what’s left behind is often undesirable. “The more we use the same antimicrobials in different contexts, the more opportunity these microbes have to develop resistance,” says Erica Hartmann, an engineering professor at Northwestern University who focuses on indoor microbiology and chemistry. 3
It is common practice to kill mold using biocides such as chlorine. However, according to the EPA, in most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area because a background level of mold spores will remain, and if the moisture problem has not been resolved, the dormant mold spores will resurge.
Going a step further, scientists are studying whether salubrious environmental microbes can be introduced into urban homes to reduce the prevalence of inflammatory diseases. A number of start-ups are marketing bacteria sprays for homes and businesses. Belgium-based TakeAir advertises an “air enricher” that disperses soil- and ocean-derived microbes through existing ventilation systems to create a 100% natural and protective biosphere for your building users. Clients include a Belgian chain of gyms and a housing project in Antwerp. Another front-runner, BetterAir in Israel, sells “the world’s first organic air and surface probiotic Enviro-Biotics®.
Enviro-Biotics® is a probiotic system that releases billions of probiotics into the air via repetitive micro-misting. It is common knowledge that mold exists on humid surfaces, dust mites prosper in beds and pathogens find refuge on dirty objects. The probiotics deplete these resources that mold, allergens, and harmful bacteria thrive on. 1 They are also responsible for 70% of our immune response and make us healthy.
Enviro-Biotics®’ bacillus cells are known for their high secretion rate of proteolytic enzymes that readily degrade adjacent proteins towards their consumption by the cells as valuable nutrients. Exposure of the viruses and allergens to these proteolytic enzymes, neutralizes them and renders them to be harmless in our air and surfaces. 1
“It’s only a matter of time before these technologies become better understood and more widespread” says Jack Gilbert, a professor and microbiome researcher at the University of California at San Diego.3
Enviro-Biotics® is natural, passed all 8 EPA Safety Requirement Protocols and provides perpetual protection. Through the last couple of years, extensive field and lab testing has been taking place around the world to quantify its efficiency. There is a better solution…. Enviro-Biotics® is the alternative solution to work with nature, not against it.
The best way to understand the effects of Enviro-Biotics® on mold is demonstrated on a video that shows two samples of mold on a Petri dish. Samples A and B have mold, the only difference is that on sample B they placed a drop of Enviro-Biotics® in the center of the Petri Dish. The test was performed for 72 hours. As mold begins to grow, Enviro-Biotics® does the same by creating a shield against mold. The result is shown on the Figure on the right. The video demonstration can be accessed at https://youtu.be/oK1ls1i7Gbs
Better Air International also approached their affiliated company branch, IB India with Dr. Sivasankar Baalasubramanian at Bangalore Innovation Center to test the hypothesis: Does Better Air International’s Enviro-Biotics® grow by utilizing the allergens in the media and ultimately reduce the allergens in the media? Below are results from lab studies. Figure 2 shows the experiment in question. The first row indicates Enviro-Biotics growth in the presence of Dust-mite as the only nitrogen source. The second row indicates the Positive control- growth of Enviro-Biotics® in the presence of NH4SO2.. The last row is the negative control, showing that a lack of a nitrogen source enacts no Enviro-Biotics growth. 4
Enviro-Biotics® shows growth in the presence of allergen as the only nitrogen source with a simultaneous reduction in allergens in the growth media over a period. 4
A follow up experiment was initiated to answer the question: “Does the Enviro-Biotics® growth in the presence of allergens result in a decrease in the levels of allergens in the growth media.” 6
Figure 3: Negative trend in allergen presence throughout 8-day period.
Enviro-Biotics® were grown in the presence of 10μg/ml of different allergens and their content was measured at different time points. In summary, this trend shows that Enviro-Biotics® grows using the allergen as its nitrogen source thereby reducing the allergens in the media. 4
Here is another application in which the effects of probiotics use are making a difference:
East Coast Grow, a premier Medical Marijuana Cultivator in Southern Maine, given the nature of an indoor marijuana cultivation facility, the control of common molds and yeast play a critical role in obtaining a marketable harvest. Cannabis thrives in warm conditions that create the ideal environment for mold to grow. At the request of their Master Grower, Better Air installed a unit for dispersing Enviro-Biotics into one flowering room to learn its effects. The master grower has not only reported incredible results as far as cleanliness and health of plants, but has also reported increased per plant yield, increased budding content and most importantly no detectible mold of any kind. There were no other changes in growing regime other than the introduction of Enviro-Biotics. All testing was done by Sensible, the Leading Marijuana Testing Laboratory in New England.2
The fact of the matter stands: alternative methods do not compare to the results of this probiotic dispersal. Sterilization methods such as HEPA filters, UV lights, electro-magnetism and chemicals eliminate 99% of the good and bad bacteria, leaving the stronger, harmful bacteria to freely propagate. Conventional indoor air purifiers are passive and do not eliminate all germs in the air or on surfaces. Therefore, these pollutants do continue to thrive, multiply, spread and infect.
Additional Studies: Below are several Field Test and its Results:
|Hilton Metropole – London||96% reduction of fungi and mold + 89% reduction of guests complain of bad odor|
|Asuta – Israel’s largest private hospital||99% reduction of all Bacteria and mold|
|Israeli Police Forces, Israel||Improved productivity associated with the reduction of airborne irritants. Reduction of headaches and noticeable improvement in air and surface quality, additional symptoms associated with SBS.|
|Care Partners Assisted Living Facility 4 months study||In summary, this data shows that levels of Gram negative bacteria, including fecal indicator bacteria representing potential pathogens, were greatly reduced in numbers on the inner surface of the vent ducts in both the treated and untreated rooms following the application of the betterair Enviro-bioticsTM.|
|Azrielli: largest commercial complex in Israel||93% reduction of pathogens + 22% improvement of work absentees|
|Italian Hospital of Ferrara||82% reduction of pathogens + 60% Reduction of nosocomial infections|
|Hospital of the elderly in Miami||84% reduction of pathogens|
About the Author:
Mr. Ivan R. Meneses, PE, CEM, EBCP is a Florida Licensed professional engineer with a Master’s degree in Construction & Facilities Management and 25 years of experience in HVAC and Energy Savings Field in government and commercial facilities. His Master Thesis from GA Tech involved a Case Study to solve Indoor Humidity issues that were affecting the health of residents at a federal government housing complex. He was deployed as subject matter expert to several US government Facilities after multiple hurricanes, most notable (Katrina, Wilma and Maria), providing recommendations for mold infested buildings. Mr. Meneses is also a Professional Engineer, a Certified Energy Manager, Florida Mechanical Contractor, and certified Existing Building Commissioning Professional. Currently, Mr. Meneses is the CEO of a startup company that specializes in Energy, Fuel and Water Savings technologies in the US and Latin America.
- “Covid-19: How Long Does the Coronavirus Last on Surfaces?” BBC Future, BBC, www.bbc.com/future/article/20200317-covid-19-how-long-does-the-coronavirus-last-on-surfaces.
- “Study on the Effects of Utilizing BetterAir’s Enviro-Biotics Throughout the Cannabis Grow Cycle”, Betterair
- Winter C., “To Make a Building Healthier, Stop Sanitzing Everything, Bloomberg Business Week”, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-12-16/covid-pandemic-microbiomes-could-be-key-to-stopping-spread-of-future-viruses, December 23, 2020
- Baalasubramanian S., “Summary on work done for Better Air International” Indoor Biotechnologies, India Private Limited CIN NoL U74900KA2015PTC079960