- The key to mold control is moisture control. Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings.
- Report all moisture and mold concerns to Facilities Management via 2FIX (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible
- As part of their preventive maintenance program, Facilities Management visually inspects all dormitories and residential spaces annually for signs of moisture and mold growth
- AU does not perform routine air quality testing of resident spaces, but
works with a hired consultant to fully investigate occupant concerns as
Frequently Asked Questions
What is mold and where is it typically found?
Molds are a natural part of the environment that serve to break down non-living organic matter. Most molds grow naturally outdoors and are brought into buildings through open windows and doors and on clothing or shoes. If provided moisture and a food source (drywall, carpeting, fabric upholstery, wood and soapy residue on shower stalls) molds can easily begin growing indoors.
Is exposure to mold bad for my health?
Many types of molds exist. All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Although most people's immune systems have little to no reaction to the presence of household molds, some individuals may have allergic responses to mold exposure, which can vary greatly in severity. Allergic responses can include sneezing, runny nose/nasal congestion, red eyes, skin rash, and asthma attacks.
What are the signs of indoor microbial growth?
The most common indicator of mold is visual suspect growth. Molds come in a variety of colors including white (sometimes seen on a damp carpet), pink (often found on shower walls not cleaned regularly), and black (seen around windowsills due to condensation). Given a source of moisture, mold can grow just about anywhere. Moisture control, air circulation and good housekeeping practices are necessary to control mold growth.
What are some things I can do to prevent mold growth in my living and working spaces?
Because the key to mold prevention is moisture control, building occupants play a vital role in helping to prevent indoor microbial growth. Key actions you can take to help prevent microbial growth in your spaces include:
- Contact 2FIX immediately when a water leak or water intrusion event occurs. Microbial growth is less likely to occur if the area is dried within 24-48 hours.
- If you notice condensation on windows, walls or pipes, ensure that the air conditioning/heating unit is on and inform 2FIX of the problem.
- Ensure that the space is receiving adequate ventilation via an automatic on/off air conditioning unit, fans, etc.
- Windows should be kept closed while running air conditioning to prevent condensation on indoor surfaces.
- In private areas, such as resident hall suite bathrooms, use a cleanser specifically designed to control mold and mildew at least once a week.
Are air quality tests conducted regularly in campus living spaces?
In the absence of observed indicators for mold growth, air monitoring is not regularly conducted on campus.
What does AU do to ensure that living spaces do not have mold?
Facilities Management's Building Automation Technicians operate, manage and monitor more than 12,000 building data points that control temperature and air flow throughout our campus buildings daily. As part of preventive best practice, Facilities Management takes prompt action to address and mitigate water leaks and intrusion events that could lead to microbial growth.
In dormitory spaces, FM prepares resident halls prior to move in by conducting visual inspections of each room for evidence of suspect mold growth. If concerns are found, Environmental Health and Safety and a licensed Industrial Hygienist investigate further.
When a mold concern has been reported, the University engages an outside Industrial Hygienist to investigate indoor air quality concerns. The Industrial Hygienist then determines best action level and proper remediation response.
Can I view an air quality report?
During the air quality investigation process, several individuals may be interviewed, and confidential information (such as health data) may be collected. Because of the potentially sensitive nature of information contained in the Industrial Hygiene reports, they may be viewed by request in the EH&S office.
What should I do if I suspect mold growth in a space on campus?
Contact Facility Management's 24-hour Facility Repair Request line (2FIX) by phone at 202-885-2349 or email at email@example.com. Be sure to describe the scope of the concern and location of interest.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip L. Brown
Environmental Health and Safety