05/08/2006

Preventing Mold-Related Problems in the Indoor Workplace

The US-American Institute of Occuaptional Safety and Health has published a
"Guide for Building Owners, Managers and Occupants" which provides basic
information about mold, mold sources, and building-related illnesses. Brief
discussions are included on building design considerations for healthy indoor
air, as well as building evaluation and sampling for mold.

Molds are the most common forms of fungi found on the earth. Fungi are
classified as neither plants nor animals, and include yeasts, mildews,
puffballs, and mushrooms. Most molds reproduce through the formation of spores,
tiny microscopic cells that
float through the indoor and outdoor air on a continual basis. We are all
exposed to mold spores in the air we breathe on a daily basis, both indoors and
outdoors. When mold spores land on a moist surface indoors, they may begin to
grow and digest the surface. Left unchecked, molds can eventually destroy the
surfaces they grow on. Molds can be any color.

Molds, their fragments, and metabolic by-products have been associated with
adverse health effects. Some diseases are known to be caused by specific molds.
However, in many occupational settings health conditions suspected to be
mold-related cannot be linked to a specific mold as the only possible cause. In
a wellknown case an initial finding that Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as
S. atra) was linked to acute pulmonary hemorrhage/hemosiderosis in infants
living in a water-damaged environment in Cleveland, Ohio was subsequently
disproved.

It is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor
environment. However, moisture control is the most important strategy for
reducing indoor mold growth. Common sources of moisture in buildings include
plumbing, roof, and window leaks; flooding; condensation on cold surfaces
(e.g., pipe sweating); poorly maintained drain pans; and wet foundations due to
landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building. Water
vapor from unvented or poorly vented kitchens, showers, combustion appliances,
or steam pipes can also create conditions that promote mold growth. Mold can
grow wherever there is dampness. Damp or wet building materials and furnishings
should be cleaned and dried within 24 to 48 hours to prevent the growth of
mold.

More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: U.S. Department of Labor  Occupational Safety & Health Administration