What is the Exposome of the Built Environment and What are the Opportunities for Intentional Design?

  Researchers at Virginia Tech’s Center for Science and Engineering of the Exposome (SEE) recently published a critical review in ES&T examining the “exposome of the built environment” and proposed engineering strategies for its control. The exposome is defined as our lifetime exposure to chemicals, microbes, and radiation and derives from anything we come into …

“House dust spurs growth of fat cells in lab tests”

While not directly related to microbiology, this story about house dust caught my eye.   The title of the press release really says it all, “House dust spurs growth of fat cells in lab tests”.   Looks like the probable guilty compounds are man-made things like fire retardants but there’s certainly a possibility for microbially produced volatiles …

Sloan Foundation-funded workshops at Healthy Buildings Europe 2017

Next week, the Lublin University of Technology in Lublin, Poland will host the Healthy Buildings Europe conference. Over 300 scientists, engineers, and professionals will gather to present and discuss building science. The Sloan Foundation is sponsoring workshops at the meeting to bring together leaders in the field and advance the state of the science. A …

New papers on Microbiology of the Built Environment, April 23, 2017

Catching up after a couple of busy weeks. Microbes in the hospital Diversity changes of microbial communities into hospital surface environments – Rika Yano – Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy ($31.50)  Previous works have demonstrated considerable variability in hospital cleanliness in Japan, suggesting that contamination is driven by factors that are currently poorly controlled. We undertook 16S …

Health + Energy Research Consortium

. The Biology and the Built Environment Center (BioBE) and Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory (ESBL) at the University of Oregon, are pleased to announce the launch of the the Health + Energy Research Consortium!  On May 4-5, 2017, in Portland Oregon, we begin our journey to dramatically reduce energy consumption and maximize human health …

Interesting long read on Healthy Building efforts by @Google

Got pointed to a very interesting long read story by Erica Hartmann on Twitter: Long read about how @Google is helping ID healthier building materials. Can’t wait to be able to use Portico! https://t.co/gdxDL8IUYq — Erica Hartmann (@ericamhartmann) February 6, 2017 The story is by Diana Budds at the FastCoDesign. It is definitely worth a …

FAQ on Microbiology of Built Environments from the American Academy of Microbiology

There is a report out from the American Academy of Microbiology that is based on the “Microbiology of the Built Environment” colloquium they hosted in September 2015.  The report summary is below: Built environments are the structures that humans create to shelter from the outdoors and provide spaces for living, working, playing, and getting places. …

Next Phase of Sloan Plumbing Microbiome Journey! Brain-eating Amoebae and Recycled Water

Sloan has just renewed our funding to build on our foundational research at Virginia Tech that has established general factors broadly shaping the composition of the premise plumbing microbiome!  In this next phase we will focus on shifts in water chemistry and temperature, using brain-eating amoebae as a key exemplar (need to protect those brains!).  …

Report: Laminate wood flooring risk was underestimated by CDC

There is a new report out Tuesday from the CDC National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).  It is an update of a report issued on February 10, 2016.  Alex Alexiev wrote about this error in a microBEnet post: CDC Error in Flooring Report. For more on the corrected report …

How to Deal with Superbugs in Waste Treatment Facilities

The Los Angeles Times posted an article yesterday on “Deadly superbugs from hospitals get stronger in the sewers and could end up in the Pacific Ocean”. While there is some truth to the matter, it is necessary to approach it with some skepticism. It is well known that antibiotic resistant bacteria are extremely prevalent in …