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Thread: Safety tip of the day "guano"- who would've known ?

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    Senior Member USIC1's Avatar
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    Default Safety tip of the day "guano"- who would've known ?

    I was doing some research on the Epa doing these environmental bores for arsenic and cadmium in my area...

    There were these fertilizer plants dating back to the 1860s that contaminated the soil...

    So the current tenant told me the name of the past company, so I did some online research, and to make a long story short- this company was importing and refining guano into fertilizer which lead me to this interesting tid-bit-


    "After guano has lain around for a couple of years, a fungus can grow in it, releasing spores into the air that cause histoplasmosis in humans. The east and central parts of the U.S. are especially susceptible to the fungus that causes this disease.

    Histoplasmosis can cause serious respiratory diseases in humans, causing fever and chest pains. If left untreated, histoplsmosis can turn into a chronic lung disease that resembles tuburculosis. In the very young and the very old, or people who already have cancer, AIDS or other serious illnesses, histoplasmosis can be fatal. Histoplasmosis can also travel from the lungs to the eyes, causing ocular histoplasmosis syndrome, which destroys the central vision (not periphreal). The lung problems can many times be cured with anti-fungal medications, but the ocular disease has no cure.


    If bat guano is found in a home or other building, it is important to have it removed as soon as possible by a trained professional. A professional will search for any roosting bats that may be inside, then for any passageways that may be accessible to bats. Any points of entry have to be closed so that the bats do not reappear.


    To remove guano, a professional will wear a respirator and dress in protective gear. The guano is usually sprayed with water or a fungicide so that the removal process will not cause the fungus to become airborne. It can then be cleaned up via a specialized vacuum, together with cleaning chemicals, or can be collected manually, or a combination of both.


    If bat guano has been found in the house, especially if it has been there for a few years, it is important to watch for any symptoms and to get medical attention if any lung or eye disease symptoms begin. Early treatment is extremely important in the ocular histoplasmosis, as laser treatments can stop the vision loss, though they can not restore any vision that has already been lost."


    I was somewhat amazed at the danger posed, so thought it would be something worth others being aware of if ever in this environment...

    Last edited by USIC1; November 13th, 2009 at 11:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dave72's Avatar
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    Default Re: Safety tip of the day "guano"- who would've known ?

    It also grows around areas with large bird populations, like chicken factories, colonies of starlings etc.. pretty much everywhere from the central US and Can eastward.

    Its fairly rare here, but there was a scare a while back when quite a few people got sick with it in a pocket.. they figured it was due to some logging activity causing large amounts to go airborne.
    (May you live in interesting times)

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