While parents may have a lot of concerns when they send their children off to college, but there’s one concern that is often overlooked: mold.
Families of several college students who have been exposed to indoor mold growth on their school campuses are sharing their experiences to bring attention to this serious problem.
When Sarah Melton an 18-year-old student at the University of Oklahoma started to experience health problems when she moved into her dorm, she and her family couldn’t figure out the cause. Melton said that she was experiencing memory loss, hand tremors, and changes in her personality.
“I would call my mom and text my mom and tell her I was going crazy because I thought I was literally losing my mind,” said Melton. She started experiencing symptoms just days after she moved into her dorm room. Her parents just thought her symptoms were the result of “the petri dish of the dorm.”
Several weeks into her first semester, Melton discovered that there was wide-spread mold growing on the ceiling of the bathroom in her dorm. That’s when she made the connection: the symptoms she was experiencing were the result of mold exposure.
“The main issues are with my memory,” said Melton. “I’m still very forgetful. I’m just not myself. It’s hard to look in the mirror every day and see a completely different person.”
When the problem was reported, the University of Oklahoma reported that they hired a professional cleaning company, who engaged in a 15-step cleaning process to clean the air units and bathroom every vents in every dorm room. But Melton’s symptoms forced her to leave school.
Oklahoma isn’t the only place where students are experiencing problems related to mold exposure. At the University of North Texas, extensive amounts of mold were removed from the bathroom walls at the campus’ College Inn dorm. In a music room at Rawlins Hall, more than 80-square-feet of mold-contaminated drywall were removed.
In response to the mold problem, officials at the University of Texas said that they take a “proactive approach” when it comes to dealing with mold concerns. They said that they use dehumidifiers and perform regular inspections during times when mold growth is high risk and in areas that are at risk of developing mold growth.
At Texas Tech and Texas A&M Universities, students also reported that dorm was removed from their dorms. The Director of Housing at Texas A&M, Dan Mizer, said that his campus and others have experienced a marked increase in mold growth cases over the past few years. According to Mizer, dorms are particularly prone to mold growth because the HVAC systems are antiquated and because students don’t realize mold is present until it has already spread.
“I think it’s inevitable,” said Mizer. “I don’t think there is any way that you can avoid it, but I think you can be proactive about it.”
Mold Inspection & Testing Dallas has years of experience performing mold tests and inspections in on-campus housing in the Dallas area. We strongly urge all colleges to arrange for mold testing on a regular basis to ensure the safety of their students. To speak with a representative from MI&T, please call 972.559.4115.