Bioaerosols are airborne particles of biological origin (DIN EN 13098). They appear in the form of fungi, bacteria, viruses, and pollens and as their cell wall components and metabolic products.
In order to detect bioaerosoles in the environment, in the past 15 years a set of rules has been established in which the measuring procedures and the assessment of bioaerosoles were standardized. This process is not yet finished. The effects of emitted bioarerosoles are increasingly taken into account during licencing procedures.

Within the current legal framework - § 5 para 1 no. 2 Bundes-Immissionsschutzgesetz (BImSchG) and - from a precautionary point of view - it is desirable to avoid an increase of the background values caused by increased immission concentrations.

Regardless of this, the possible health effects of airborne micro-organisms (bioaerosoles) on the residents in the vicinity of emitting plants has been discussed for some time. A bioaerosol concentration which increases the background values is defined as absolutely undesirable from the view of environmental medicine. The assessment in environmental health does not take into account the realizability or the econimic aspects.

By adhering to the assessment criteria (background levels inter alia) the health provision is sufficiently guaranteed according to current scientific knowledge and in accordance with the relevant criteria. Emission-reduction or limiting measures which exceed the state of the art cannot generally be derived.

In order to estimate a possible exposition of the residents to bioaerosoles due to operating plants (waste sorting, transfer points, processing stations for old timber, composting, fermentation, food processing, landfills, livestock farming, slaughterhouses, public rendering services, wastewater treatment plants, biogas plants, cooling towers etc.), emission and ambient air quality measurements are carried out.
The guideline groups

• VDI 4250 (Bioaerosols and biological agents);
• VDI 4251(Measurement of airborne microorganisms and viruses in ambient air);
• VDI 4252 (Measurement of airborne microorganisms and viruses in ambient air);
• VDI 4253 (Bioaerosols and biological agents) - laboratory analytics
• VDI 4255 (Bioaerosols and biological agents) - Sources of emissions and control measures
• VDI 4256 (Bioaerosols and biological agents) – Determination of performance characteristics
• VDI 4257 (Bioaerosols and biological agents) – Emission measurement

provide the basis for the measurement and assessment of relevant measuring parameters, bioaerosol immissions and legionella with reference to plants and environmental health. In this connection, the planning of plume measurements as plant-relevant immission measurements and the determination of background level concentrations typical for the landscape are required as well as a dispersion modelling of bioaerosoles.

On the emission side, emission  sources and reduction measures are inspected and emission measurements including sampling and laboratory analysis are carried out.
In the VDI Guideline 4250 1, criteria are listed which help checking whether health impairment may be caused by bioaerosols. These criteria are:

• distance between place of residence and plant
• unfavourable dispersion conditions, e. g. cold air flows in the direction of the residential buildings
• further plants emitting bioaerosols in the vicinity
• sensitive used (e. g. hospitals)
• growing number of complaints of residents on health impairments

In this highly sensitive area you can trust in the independence, experience, and expert know-how of Müller-BBM. The relevant procedures for planning and executing emission and ambient air quality measurements of airborne micro-organisms and viruses are subject to our valid accreditation. We offer our support for the concept, execution, and assessment of emission and ambient air quality measurements, immission forecasts; we also offer our services for the contact with authorities to speed up the approval process.

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