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Sci Total Environ. 2010 May 1;408(11):2305-11. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.02.027. Epub 2010 Mar 12.

The effect of ozonization on furniture dust: microbial content and immunotoxicity in vitro.

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Department of Environmental Health, National Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 95, FI-70701 Kuopio, Finland.


Moisture and mold problems in buildings contaminate also the furniture and other movable property. If cleaning of the contaminated furniture is neglected, it may continue to cause problems to the occupants even after the moisture-damage repairs. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of high-efficiency ozone treatment in cleaning of the furniture from moisture-damaged buildings. In addition, the effectiveness of two cleaning methods was compared. Samples were vacuumed from the padded areas before and after the treatment. The microbial flora and concentrations in the dust sample were determined by quantitative cultivation and QPCR-methods. The immunotoxic potential of the dust samples was analyzed by measuring effects on cell viability and production of inflammatory mediators in vitro. Concentrations of viable microbes decreased significantly in most of the samples after cleaning. Cleaning with combined steam wash and ozonisation was more effective method than ozonising alone, but the difference was not statistically significant. Detection of fungal species with PCR showed a slight but nonsignificant decrease in concentrations after the cleaning. The immunotoxic potential of the collected dust decreased significantly in most of the samples. However, in a small subgroup of samples, increased concentrations of microbes and immunotoxicological activity were detected. This study shows that a transportable cleaning unit with high-efficiency ozonising is in most cases effective in decreasing the concentrations of viable microbes and immunotoxicological activity of the furniture dust. However, the method does not destroy or remove all fungal material present in the dust, as detected with QPCR analysis, and in some cases the cleaning procedure may increase the microbial concentrations and immunotoxicity of the dust.

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