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Common causes of mold growth in schools and homes

While the mold growth discovered at a South Jersey school might not be as severe as the deadly fungal contamination problems in the Philadelphia suburb of Phoenixville back in 1958, it was dangerous enough to prompt the closing of the building for at least once week.

Concerning mold growth in schools, there are usually more questions than there are answered for alarmed teachers and parents. Some of those questions include:

  • What kind of mold?
  • Does it have a toxic effect?
  • How long will it take to clean the areas that have been impacted by fungi?
  • Is damage caused by mold growth irreversible?

With Monroe Township, New Jersey’s Holly Glen Elementary School as an example, here’s a look at some of the ways that you should think about mold when heightened levels are found indoors.

  • First and foremost, it’s important to understand that mold is all around us. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “Molds are very common in buildings and homes and will grow anywhere indoors where there is moisture.” Mold proliferation occurs as a result of heightened moisture levels in the air. An assessment of the problem at Holly Glen found that all of the locations that were tested and confirmed to have mold growth had heightened humidity levels that would be conducive to mold growth.
  • Humidity levels that are higher than 50 percent can spark mold growth. Mold thrives when moisture is present, so when humidity levels are elevated, especially for a prolonged period of time, mold growth can occur. The CDC suggests keeping the humidity levels in indoor locations lower than 50 percent to prevent mold growth. Of the 10 locations tested at Holly Glen, nine had humidity levels higher than 50 percent. The levels of the 10th location were at 49 percent.
  • Toxic mold is really an accurate description, as mold itself isn’t toxic; however, some types of mold can produce toxins. The most common molds that grow indoors, if they grow in large enough quantities, can cause adverse reactions, such as increased reactions in people who suffer from asthma. At Holly Glen, two molds that produce toxins were found growing at elevated levels. Stachybotrys, the notorious black mold, was only found to be growing in one location, and only a minimal amount was found.

The above-mentioned information can help you better understand mold. It’s important to have a good understanding about mold, so as to avoid contamination.

While mold is helpful in nature and when growing outdoors, it usually isn’t a problem, when it grows indoors, it can cause serious problems. Not only can indoor mold growth cause structural damage to a property, but it can also cause health problems. The symptoms associated with mold exposure vary, but can include respiratory problems, such as coughing, wheezing, and infections, irritated skin, itchy eyes, and nasal congestion.

Mold Inspection & Testing Philadelphia has been performing mold assessments in Philly for years. We strongly suggest all property owners arrange for regular mold inspections from a reputable third-party mold assessment company to avoid complications. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 215.315.3843.

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