Mold In Commercial Buildings and Schools
With each passing year, concern over indoor exposure to mold increases. The public has become increasingly aware of the potential dangers linked to mold exposure. In addition to personal properties and residences, property managers and those responsible for the maintenance of commercial buildings, hotels, and schools should be aware of hidden dangers and acquire some knowledge of mold growth to protect the health of building occupants. With some basic knowledge of the subject, even inexperienced and untrained individuals can be capable of making reasonable judgments as to whether a situation can be handled in-house or requires the help of trained professionals.
Molds Can Be Found Almost Anywhere
They can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.
It is Impossible to Eliminate All Mold
This also holds true for mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors. Molds reproduce by making spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on.
Mold Can Have Various Effects on Health
Molds can produce allergens that can trigger health issues to inhabitants. Health issues can vary between individuals. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth. Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings. Moisture problems can have many causes, including uncontrolled humidity. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Some of these changes have resulted in buildings that are tightly sealed but may lack adequate ventilation, potentially leading to moisture buildup. Building materials, such as drywall, may not allow moisture to escape easily. Moisture problems may include:
- Roof Leaks
- Landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building
- Unvented combustion appliances
- Delayed maintenance or insufficient maintenance are also associated with moisture problems in schools and large buildings
Moisture problems in portable classrooms and other temporary structures have frequently been associated with mold problems. When mold growth occurs in buildings, adverse health problems may be reported by some building occupants, particularly those with allergies or respiratory problems. Remediators should avoid exposing themselves and others to mold-laden dust as they conduct their cleanup activities. Caution should be used to prevent mold and mold spores from being dispersed throughout the air where they can be inhaled by building occupants.