Biological Contaminants

We inhabit a living world with a variety of living organisms. Every day we encounter and interact with some of these organisms. These interactions can have many effects including adverse health effects. When foreign biological matter (living or dead) comes in contact with or enters our body, it is treated like an invading contaminant -- a war is waged between our immune system and the contaminant.

Everyone reacts differently to exposure to various biological contaminants. Individual reactions depend upon a wide range of variables such as the individual's immune response, the type of contaminant, the amount or concentration of the contaminant, and the length of time of exposure to the contaminant.

Biological contaminants consist of living organisms, dead organisms and particles given off by organisms while they are living or after they are dead. Organisms that can contribute to indoor air quality contamination may include unwanted pests such as insects or mice; advantageous organisms such as mold and bacteria; or pets such as cats, dogs, birds and reptiles.

Indoor Air Quality Web Resources - Biological Contaminants


Contact Information

  • Justin Otto - North Dakota Department of Health
  • Electronic mail address:
  • Office phone: 701.328.5188

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Page last revised: January 22, 2015