Director: David Fiess, MPA • Phone: (260) 449-7459 • FAX: (260) 449-7460 • Email: dave.fiess@allencounty.us
Location: 2242 Carroll Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46818 • Hours: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Meet the Staff: Josh Blauvelt, BS, CHHS, Asst. Director; Tom McCue, BS, Env. Health Specialist II; Francis Koch, Env.Technician; Pat De Haven, Secretary; Seasonal Mosquito Technicians

Indoor Air Quality

We spend more time indoors than outdoors.  Due to this behavior, the air inside our homes can drastically affect our health.  As new homes are built, the air exchange rate lessens due to better insulation and construction methods.  There is not much leakage to the outside or allowance of outdoor air to enter the house.  Homes running air conditioners or heaters constantly do not allow for fresh air to enter and replace the old air.  Lead dust, carbon monoxide, and radon are some of the indoor air quality issues that can cause health problems.

ASBESTOS

Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals naturally occurring in the environment as bundles of fibers that can be separated into long, durable threads.  The fibers are resistent to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity making asbestos popular for use in a wide range of products, including building materials, automotive parts and heat-resistant fabrics (IDEM, 2012).  Asbestos becomes a problem when the fibers begin to break apart.  The fibers are inhaled and, after a period of time, can cause cause cancer and mesethelioma.

ASTHMA

Asthma is a respiratory disease caused by environmental triggers, such as mouse urine, feces or hair.  These triggers cause the airways of the lung to tighten preventing a person from breathing easily.  Other triggers include urine, feces and body parts of cockroaches and pet dander.

CARBON MONOXIDE

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause death if too much is inhaled.  The causes of carbon monoxide poisoning are malfunctioning gas stoves and furnaces, running vehicles in attached garages, and kerosene heaters.  Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on each floor of your house.  Check the batteries regularly to ensure the detectors are functional.

ENVIRONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE

Environmental tobacco smoke or secondhand smoke can cause serious health effects to people living in a home of a smoker, especially children because their lungs are still developing.  Secondhand smoke contains more that 4,000 substances, several of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals (EPA).

FORMALDEHYDE / WOOD-PRESSED PRODUCTS

We are exposed to formaldehyde in our homes from wood-pressed products, gas stoves, kerosene heaters, and secondhand smoke.  The highest exposure comes from the glue in wood-pressed products.  "Exterior-grade" wood-pressed products should be purchased for use in your home.

LEAD

  • Please click here to visit the Childhood Lead Poisoning Program web page and click here to visit the Lead Screening web page.


MERCURY

Mercury is a naturally-occurring element that is found in air, water and soil.  It exists in several forms:  elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds.  Elemental or metallic mercury is a shiny, silver-white metal and is liquid at room temperature.  If heated, it is a colorless, odorless gas.  Exposures to mercury can affect the human nervous system and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system.  The most common way we are exposed to mercury is by eating fish or shellfish that are contaminated with mercury.  Another less common exposure to mercury that can be a concern is breathing mercury vapor.  These exposures can occur when elemental mercury or products that contain elemental mercury break and release mercury to the air, particularly in warm or poorly-ventilated indoor spaces. [EPA mercury page]

RADON

 

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More Articles:   General Information • FAQ • Animal Bites & Rabies • Bed Bugs • Built Environment • Childhood Lead Poisoning • Childhood Lead Screening • Children's Environmental Health Protection • Cockroaches • Healthy Homes • Integrated Pest Management • Lodging Establishments • Meth Labs • Mold • Mosquitoes • Mosquitoes - Biology • Mosquitoes - Diseases • Mosquitoes - Prevention & Control • Pests & Other Vectors • Radon • Rats & Mice - Biology & Diseases • Rats & Mice - Control • Ticks • Unsanitary Conditions • Unwanted Refrigerators & Freezers

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to see large image.
  • Trina Riecke, Lead Case Manager, conducts a developmental assessment of a lead-poisoned child.
  • Lucky the Lead Free Lemur is a mascot of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.  He appears at health fairs and other events to promote lead prevention.
  • This engorged American Dog Tick was pulled off a human.  To prevent tick attachment, wear light-colored clothing, long pants with the bottoms placed into the top of socks, and apply a DEET-product to your clothing.  Check your clothing and body after exiting a high grass or wooded area.
  • De-rimmed tires breed mosquitoes and can provide drinking water for rats.  Culex species, ones that can carry WNv, and Ae. triseriatus, carrier of LaCrosse Encephalitis, use tires as a habitat when in the larval form.  The sun heats the black rubber allowing for increased mosquito production, even when it is cool out.  Tires should be properly disposed of or covered to prevent mosquito breeding.
  • A female Culex mosquito laying an egg raft, which can consist of 200-300 eggs.
  • A blood sample to be tested for lead is taken from a capillary in the tip of the finger.
  • Mold needs water to grow.  Remove the water source and there won't be a mold problem.
  • The American dog tick is the largest tick in Indiana and can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
  • Children enjoy meeting Lucky the Lead Free Lemur.
  • Sticky traps are a great tool to catch cockroaches.
  • Trina Riecke educates a citizen about how to maintain a healthy and safe home.
  • Rats like to eat grease, as can be seen in the pan on the stove.
  • Educating the public on Vector-borne diseases is an on-going effort.
  • Ae. triseriatus, a carrier of LaCrosse Encephalitis, lays her eggs in treeholes and containers.
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Cockroach infestation in kitchen cabinet.
  • Mosquitofish can be placed into ornamental ponds to eat mosquito larvae.  The fish only get to be an inch in length.
  • Un-maintained swimming pools are perfect for breeding the mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus.
  • Double whammy for mosquito breeding - uncovered boat with un-rimmed tire in it.
  • Notice the pop can the rats tried pulling into a burrow.
  • This rat ate poison bait stored in a secure station.
  • Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become infected if scratched too much.
  • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Free radon test kits are available at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health.
  • Ingredients taken from a meth lab that was found in a house.
Did You Know?

Rats will eat the undigested food in your pet's droppings. It's wise to clean up after your pet daily.