HDHHS acquires equipment improving mold, pollen reports

The Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) will begin providing more precise mold and pollen reports on Thursday when it upgrades to newly acquired high-tech equipment. 

The new spore sampler will also enable HDHHS’ Bureau of Laboratory Services to provide the reports to the public and news media earlier in the day and even when the Houston area is experiencing adverse weather or rain.

The reports prove valuable to area residents who suffer from allergies. Houston’s relatively mild temperatures, humidity and vegetation generate a mold and pollen season that spans the entire year.

Known as the Burkard spore trap, the equipment will allow HDHHS to sample tens of thousands of mold and pollen spores compared to hundreds of spores collected with the current equipment. The new spore trap also has the capability to capture even more minute spores. Both features result in more accurate reports that help people decide if they will spend more time outdoors or limit mold and pollen exposures by remaining indoors.

Approved by the National Allergy Bureau and endorsed by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, the equipment will enable HDHHS to issue the daily reports at about 8:30 a.m. HDHHS routinely has issued the reports at 10 a.m.

Rain or other inclement weather will no longer prevent the counting station from issuing the reports as the new equipment is enclosed, allowing it to continue to draw in air for spore sampling.

To obtain the daily mold and pollen report, visit www.houstonhealth.org or call 713-247-5846.

This news release was issued on September 27, 2006.