Socioeconomic Status and Indoor Environmental Quality in Rural Georgia Homes

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Background and Objectives: The relationships between low socioeconomic status (SES) and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in rural US areas are unexplored. Low-income, poor housing conditions, and low education level may condition rural people's knowledge of and access to appropriate health interventions. The study objectives were examining these SES measures and several IEQ parameters (airborne bacteria and mold, and house dust ATP - an indicator of microbial activity) in rural Georgia homes.

Methods: Biostage viable impactor was utilized for air sampling (18 households), which comprises an inlet cone, an impactor stage, and a base that holds an agar plate, where microorganisms are collected. ATP levels in swabbed dust samples were measured by a kit, which utilized luciferin-luciferase fluorescence reaction, and a luminometer. A questionnaire was administered to assess respiratory health and basic demographics of residents; including questions to determine above-mentioned SES measures.

Results: Preliminary data showed that culturable mold and bacterial concentrations ranged from 167 to 527 CFU/m3. Mold concentrations were higher in homes with high SES individuals and bacterial concentrations were higher in homes of low SES. Average ATP levels collected from hard surfaces ranged from 257 RLU to 769.4 RLU, and those collected from carpet ranged from 329.5 to 1,467.1. On both surfaces, ATP levels were significantly higher (p=05) in homes of lower SES than in those of higher SES.

Conclusions: Preliminary data indicate that SES measures influence microbial exposures in rural Georgia homes. Appropriate policy interventions are required to improve IEQ among rural Georgia residents of low SES.


American Public Health Association Annual Meeting (APHA)


Denver, CO