Mold is a type of fungus that grows and thrives on the biodegradation of organic, porous materials. Mold exists everywhere in the environment both indoors and outdoors and, in many cases, is a necessary and vital element to nature. However, when the fungus produces higher spore counts indoors as opposed to its outdoor counterparts, indoor air quality can become toxic and unhealthy. It is vital that mold colonies are addressed safely and properly to avoid health hazards and allergic reactions to humans.
Mold growth is common in many humid, dark, and damp areas of a building. While toxic mold growth can prove to be extremely hazardous in any circumstance, perhaps the most harm can come when large volumes of people frequent a particular building on a regular basis. Due to the sheer number of people who attend schools on a daily basis, and the range in age of its inhabitants, schools and other academic institutions are amongst the most dangerous places for toxic mold growth.
Mold remediation experts warn that mold growth in schools must be handled immediately in order to prevent an outbreak of allergic reactions and respiratory deficiencies in students and faculty. Exposure to mold spores can cause:
· Skin and Eye Irritation
· Respiratory deficiencies (I.e. heavy congestion leading to infection)
· Asthmatic Outbursts
· High Fevers
Like any other sickness or allergic reaction that spawns these types of symptoms, failure to properly manage them can result in serious or even fatal illnesses.
Experts suggest that mold growth found in schools should be reported immediately to faculty, students, and parents. SI Restoration, a mold remediation specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland, have been servicing community schools and academic institutions for over twenty years. Owner Mr. Jeff Cohn explains, “While mold growth found in schools can cause a temporary disruption in daily activities, it is vital to report the contamination immediately and remediate the mold as soon as possible. By doing so, the safety of students, staff, and faculty will be protected.”
To understand how mold growth occurs indoors, school faculty must first learn how mold behaves. Moisture is the number one cause of toxic fungal growth. Coupled with a dark, humid environment, moisture can create mold colonies within a matter of 48 hours. Any type of water damage or leakage can cause excessive moisture like bursting pipes, flooding, severe storms, and heavy condensation.
To remediate mold growth properly, containment of its spores are necessary to prevent cross contamination into other areas of the school. Mold spores are seedlings which are disbursed into the area when the colony is attacked. These spores will find as many habitable spots as possible to ensure survival of the colony. Negative air filtration units and containment barriers must be utilized to prevent the spread of these spores.
Proper containment, along with many other safe methods of remediation, are outlined in the IICRC’s S520 Guidelines for Mold Removal. The IICRC is a third-party governing entity of the restoration business. Because most states do not have laws pertaining to healthy mold remediation, the IICRC certifies technicians and creates guidelines for contractors to follow. IICRC Guidelines work in tandem with Environmental Protection Agency and OSHA standards for the safe usage of equipment and biowashes.
Protecting the health and safety of students and faculty is the number one priority during mold remediation in schools. By contracting a certified mold remediation specialist to thwart further mold exposure and keeping students, parents, and teachers in the loop, the toxic fungus will no longer be able to wreak havoc in schools.