Thursday, October 17, 2013

University Experiences Mold Issue

Mold sample
Sample of contained mold

The University of Minnesota experienced some unwelcome guests during their fall move in: mold. Reported a few weeks ago, some students were forced into other available rooms until abatement measures could be taken at the affected dormitory, Frontier Hall.

Built in 1959, Frontier Hall was renovated in 2000. During the renovation, school officials state that the heating and cooling systems were updated. Mold thrives off of damp areas, so 13 years later, it makes sense that mold would have an opportunity to grow. All types of molds require moisture for growth. Because they lack chlorophyll, they survive by digesting plant materials and other food sources such as wood, fabric and even human athlete’s foot. Molds reproduce through creating a very large numbers of small spores, which is similar to plants creating seeds. When mold spores land on a damp spot, they begin growing and digesting in order to survive

The school states that this is the worst outbreak they have ever had. They feel as though since it was more humid during this move-in and the air conditioning was on full-blast, this could have caused the outbreak.

It is important to remove this mold as soon as possible and take the situation seriously. Mold, especially such a large outbreak, can cause numerous ailments such as:
  • Sneezing, runny nose, irritation of throat, red eyes, skin rash (dermatitis) 
  • ›Allergic Reactions: allergic asthma, hay fever, fungal sinusitis 
  • ›Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis: rare, immune-related condition resembling bacterial pneumonia 
  • ›Toxic Reactions: liver damage, nervous system damage, immunological effects 
One interviewed student complained she felt that moving into the dorm triggered her allergies. After learning of the mold situation, she then understood her runny nose was a side effect of mold exposure. Some of the mold, located in the air conditioning units, can be costly to the student health. Undisturbed mold is a hazard enough, but the risk greatly increases when the organism is disturbed, as the spores can become airborne.

Instead of asking the students to review their rooms for mold, this should be left to professionals who can identify the source and plan a way to minimalism disturbance. Many people are not aware of the dangers of mold or what level of harm different types may cause. In this situation, hiring a mold consultant would be in the best interest of the school.

One company, My Cleaning Products, suggested using their Safe Shield, non-toxic mold remover and prevention solution. They state this could alleviate the problem while preventing growth. Used by professionals, their product is guaranteed to prevent mold regrowth for up to 4 months. While this is a temporary fix, the real key is hiring mold professionals to take of the job.

GreenEDU recommends taking some of our training courses. You can learn the mold basics in Introduction to Mold, which is great for several industries like insurance and construction. We also offer a Mold Inspection Course, a Mold Remediation Course, Mold Refresher training.

To sign up for a class, or to learn more about mold, please visit www.greenedu.com.