What about schools, mold, and indoor air quality?
The Agency's primary resource on this issue is the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Action kit (www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/actionkit.html). Our schools-related resources on the web start at: epa.gov/iaq/schools.
You can read Managing Asthma in the School Environment at www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/managingasthma.html. The following is an excerpt:
Common Moisture Sources Found in Schools
Moisture problems in school buildings can be caused by a variety of conditions, including roof and plumbing leaks, condensation, and excess humidity. Some moisture problems in schools have been linked to changes in building construction practices during the past twenty to thirty years. These changes have resulted in more tightly sealed buildings that may not allow moisture to escape easily. Moisture problems in schools are also associated with delayed maintenance or insufficient maintenance, due to budget and other constraints. Temporary structures in schools, such as trailers and portable classrooms, have frequently been associated with moisture and mold problems.
Suggestions for Reducing Mold Growth in Schools
Reduce Indoor Humidity:
- Vent showers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside.
- Control humidity levels and dampness by using air conditioners and de-humidifiers.
- Provide adequate ventilation to maintain indoor humidity levels between 30-60%.
- Use exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning in food service areas.
Inspect the building for signs of mold, moisture, leaks, or spills:
- Check for moldy odors.
- Look for water stains or discoloration on the ceiling, walls, floors, and window sills.
- Look around and under sinks for standing water, water stains, or mold.
- Inspect bathrooms for standing water, water stains, or mold.
- Do not let water stand in air conditioning or refrigerator drip pans.
Respond promptly when you see signs of moisture and/or mold, or when leaks or spills occur:
- Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours of occurrence to prevent mold growth.
- Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
- Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely.
- Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
- Check the mechanical room and roof for unsanitary conditions, leaks, or spills.
Prevent moisture condensation:
- Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
Floor and carpet cleaning:
- Remove spots and stains immediately, using the flooring manufacturer’s recommended techniques.
- Use care to prevent excess moisture or cleaning residue accumulation and ensure that cleaned areas are dried quickly.
- In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
For more information on mold, see our website at www.epa.gov/mold
Read the publication, "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home" at www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html [EPA 402-K-02-003]
Una Breve Guía para el Moho, la Humedad y su Hogar está disponible en el formato PDF www.epa.gov/mold/pdfs/moldguide_sp.pdf Documento de la agencia EPA número 402-K-03-008.
Read the publication "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings at www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html [EPA 402-K-01-001, March 2001]
Mold Resources are available at www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html
- Indoor Air Quality
- Mold and Moisture
- La Calidad del Aire Interior
- IAQ Tools for Schools
- Indoor airPLUS
- Secondhand Smoke (ETS)
- IAQ Tribal Partners Program
- IAQ Design Tools for Schools
- Indoor Air Pollutants
- Air Cleaners
- Topic #: 23002-20970
- Date Created: 3/14/2007
- Last Modified Since: 10/12/2010
- Viewed: 7953