Garbage Chutes and Sick Building Syndrome

Studies have shown that there can be at least 30 different types of bacteria and biological growth inside a garbage chute and these biological agents can enter the air space of the collection room. Some of the agents found included Dysentery, E. Coli 0157, and Legionella.

This means that garbage chutes are breeding grounds for bacteria that are known for killing people in many types of situations. Any time the chute doors are open, all of that bad stuff becomes airborne and this means people breathe it in.

This is frequently referred to as ‘sick building syndrome’ and is why it is a must to keep trash chutes clean and in good condition.

Continued exposure to unclean garbage chutes can lead to immune system deficiencies and Salmonella poisoning. Salmonella tends to be the most predominant organism recovered from chutes. If a person becomes sick with Salmonella, it could be fatal. Pathogenic molds can also cause respiratory tract issues.

So what is being thrown down garbage chutes to make them so filthy?

Well, they are garbage chutes and this means that food, paper, and plastic goods are being thrown into them, but people also throw away things that shouldn’t go into garbage chutes. Those things include animal waste and chemicals. If the chute becomes clogged, the air from the chute will enter the ventilation system and this can make everyone within a building ill.

And because grease, grime, and sludge are thrown down them, it can build up. This could keep the chute doors from closing properly, which can cause a fire. If the doors are not shut right, a wind tunnel effect can occur and this means fire can go up or down the building very quickly. This is why it is ideal for a garbage chute to have a sprinkler system installed.

All in all, it is important to ensure that garbage chutes are properly maintained to avoid building-wide illnesses and fire hazards. A maintenance schedule can be established to make sure this happens to ensure the safety of everyone within the building.