Indoor Air Quality

Hazards of Mold

In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more polluted than the outdoor air. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.

Mold, or fungi, lives in virtually any building, under sinks, in bathrooms, basements, refrigerators, or any damp dark place. At first, the mold is inconspicuous, or microscopic. After it has spread and completely covered the area with millions of cells, you start to see the mold.

Discovery of Mold

If mold is discovered, fix the source of the problem. In most cases, the best level of control of contaminated materials is the complete removal of the contaminated items. This includes completely replacing wallboard, sheet rock, and carpeting or damaged organic materials (wood bearing products). Light instances may be cured using a weak bleach solution. In this case, you must assure that the contaminated item be allowed to dry completely.

Preventing Mold Proliferation

To prevent mold proliferation in your home or building:

  • Reduce indoor humidity by:
    • Maintaining building under positive pressure (keeps moisture and nutrients outside the building in their natural environment)
    • Venting moisture producing sources to the outdoors (locker room exhaust, bath exhaust, cooking exhaust)
  • Control growth at the source:
    • Assure plumbing fixture integrity
    • Assure that all HVAC drain pans are sloped properly and that drains are free of obstruction
    • Check for moldy odors
    • Eliminate all sources of condensation, windows, piping, etc.
    • Inspect HVAC equipment periodically for sources of contaminant or moisture buildup
    • Look for and correct the cause of water stains on ceilings, walls and floors
    • Seal penetrations in walls or floors, especially below ground
  • Remove any source of freestanding water