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    Posted by Deborah on 6/14/10

    thanks Susan Brinchman.

    On 6/13/10, Susan wrote:
    > DAMP BUILDING.(Susan Brinchman, Director, Center for School
    > Mold Help,
    > ----------------------------------------
    > NIOSH
    > Workplace Safety and Health Topics
    > Industries & Occupations
    > Indoor Environmental Quality
    > Dampness and Mold in Buildings
    > On this Page:
    > What is Mold?
    > "Toxic Mold" & Stachybotyrs chartarum
    > Remediation of dampness and mold contamination
    > I suspect mold in my workplace. How do I test for mold?
    > Symptoms related to dampness and mold
    > What workers can do?
    > What management and building owners can do
    > Resources
    > References
    > Dampness results from water incursion either from internal
    > sources (e.g. leaking pipes) or external sources (e.g.
    > rainwater). Dampness becomes a problem when various
    > materials in buildings (e.g., rugs, walls, ceiling tiles)
    > become wet for extended periods of time. Excessive moisture
    > in the air (i.e., high relative humidity) that is not
    > properly controlled with air conditioning can also lead to
    > excessive dampness. Flooding causes dampness. Dampness is a
    > problem in buildings because it provides the moisture that
    > supports the growth of bacteria, fungi (i.e., mold), and
    > insects.
    > In the presence of damp building materials the source of
    > water incursion is often readily apparent (e.g., leaks in
    > the roof or windows or a burst pipe). However, dampness
    > problems can be less obvious when the affected materials
    > and water source are hidden from view (e.g., wet insulation
    > within a ceiling or wall; excessive moisture in the
    > building foundation due to the slope of the surrounding
    > land).
    > What is mold?
    > Mold is a fungal growth that forms and spreads on various
    > kinds of damp or decaying organic matter. There are many
    > different mold species that come in many different colors.
    > Molds are sometimes referred to as mildew. They are found
    > both indoors and outdoors in all climates, during all
    > seasons of the year. Outdoors, molds survive by using
    > plants and decaying organic matter such as fallen leaves as
    > a source of nutrition. Indoors, molds need moisture to grow
    > as well as a carbon source from building materials or
    > building contents.
    > Excess moisture is generally the cause of indoor mold
    > growth. Molds reproduce by releasing tiny spores that float
    > through the air until landing in other locations. When they
    > settle on wet or moist surfaces, the spores can form new
    > mold colonies. Moderate temperatures and available nutrient
    > sources make most office buildings ideal for mold growth.
    > Recent media attention has increased public awareness and
    > concern over exposure to molds in the workplace. While this
    > may seem to be a new problem, exposure to molds has
    > actually occurred throughout history. In fact, the types of
    > molds found in office buildings are not rare or even
    > unusual. It is important to understand that no indoor space
    > is completely free from mold spores – not even a surgical
    > operating room. Molds are everywhere, making our exposure
    > to molds unavoidable, whether indoors or outdoors, at home
    > or at work.
    > "Toxic Mold" & Stachybotyrs chartarum
    > Certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce
    > toxins (mycotoxins), but the molds themselves are not
    > toxic, or poisonous. Hazards presented by molds that may
    > produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other
    > common molds which can grow in your house or workplace.
    > Contradicting research results exist regarding whether
    > toxigenic mold found indoors causes unique or rare health
    > conditions such as bleeding in the lungs. Research is
    > ongoing in this area.
    > Mold growing in buildings, whether it is Stachybotrys
    > chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) or another mold, indicates
    > that there is a problem with water or moisture. This is the
    > first problem that needs to be addressed.
    > Remediation of dampness and mold contamination
    > First and foremost, determine the source of moisture and
    > take appropriate measures to make repairs. Damp or wet
    > building materials and furnishings as a result of leaks or
    > flooding should be dried within 24 to 48 hours to prevent
    > the growth of mold. Mold can be cleaned and removed from
    > hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or
    > a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1
    > gallon of water. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other
    > household cleaners. Mold in or under carpets typically
    > requires that the carpets be removed. Once mold starts to
    > grow in insulation or wallboard, the only way to deal with
    > the problem is removal and replacement. (CDC- Facts about
    > Stachybotrys chartarum and Other Molds) For complete
    > remediation guidelines go to the New York City Department
    > of Health and Hygiene’s Guidelines on Assessment and
    > Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments at
    > For "green"
    > environmentally friendly cleaning solutions, go to
    > Greenguard Environmental Institute at
    > I suspect mold in my workplace. How do I test for mold?
    > CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds.
    > Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of
    > mold growing in a building. Measurements of mold in air are
    > not reliable or representative. If mold is seen or smelled,
    > there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what
    > type of mold is present, you should arrange for its
    > removal. Furthermore, sampling for mold can be expensive,
    > and standards for judging what is and what is not an
    > acceptable or tolerable quantity of mold have not been
    > established.
    > Symptoms related to dampness and mold
    > Health problems associated with excessive damp conditions
    > and mold include:
    > Allergic responses like those to pollen or animal dander
    > are the most common types of health problems related to
    > mold. Typical symptoms include sneezing; irritation of the
    > nose, mouth, or throat; nasal stuffiness and runny nose;
    > and red, itchy or watery eyes. Inhaling or touching mold or
    > mold spores can cause a person who was not previously
    > allergic to mold to become allergic to mold. For people
    > with known allergies, molds can trigger asthma symptoms
    > such as shortness of breath, wheezing, or cough. Irritation
    > can also occur in non-allergenic (non-sensitized) people.
    > Additionally, scientific studies indicate that exposure to
    > molds in the workplace can make pre-existing asthma worse.
    > Recent NIOSH investigations document that some damp
    > buildings are associated with developing new asthma.
    > Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) is a kind of lung
    > inflammation that occurs in persons who develop immune
    > system sensitization (similar to an allergy) to inhaled
    > organic dust. It can be mistaken for pneumonia, but it does
    > not get better with antibiotics for infection.
    > Symptoms of HP can vary. Some persons have shortness of
    > breath, cough, muscle aches, chills, fever, night sweats,
    > and profound fatigue. These symptoms usually first appear 2
    > to 9 hours after exposure and last for 1 to 3 days. Other
    > affected persons have progressive shortness of breath and
    > cough, as well as weight loss. Work-relatedness may only
    > become apparent over long holidays if symptoms resolve and
    > then recur on return to work. With continued exposure, the
    > persistent lung inflammation of both kinds of symptoms can
    > lead to scarring and permanent damage. The slow progression
    > of symptoms and the persistence of symptoms away from work
    > may result in delayed recognition of work-related lung
    > disease by both workers and physicians.
    > HP has been referred to as Bird breeder’s lung and Mushroom
    > picker’s disease in specific occupations with a risk of HP
    > from biological dusts. HP has been documented in workers in
    > buildings with mold and bacteria contaminated air-
    > conditioners (including spray-water cooling systems), and
    > contaminated ductwork and filters. This lung disease has
    > also occurred in workers who worked in water-damaged
    > buildings with roof leaks, plumbing leaks, poorly draining
    > condensation pans, and high indoor relative humidity.
    > HP is not contagious and is due to a person’s immune system
    > reaction to inhaled microorganisms, whether dead or alive.
    > It is possible for workers to have both dampness-related HP
    > and asthma at the same time. Additionally, workplaces that
    > have workers with HP may also have workers with building-
    > related asthma.
    > ASTHMA
    > Asthma is a form of lung disease in which the airways
    > develop inflammation and bronchospasm (reversible
    > narrowing) in response to sensitizing or irritating
    > exposure. Affected individuals can experience episodes of
    > shortness of breath, cough, chest tightness, and wheezing.
    > These symptoms occur after exposure to nonspecific
    > irritating substances in the air or after exposure to
    > substances to which an individual is allergic. Medical
    > testing typically reveals evidence of bronchial
    > hyperresponsiveness such as an abnormal methacholine
    > challenge test or reversible airways obstruction on
    > spirometry (a test of lung function). It is important for
    > affected individuals to have a comprehensive asthma
    > treatment plan and regular follow-up with their physician.
    > Early diagnosis and removal from the impacted damp office
    > environment can cure asthma caused by workplace exposures.
    > In approximately 15&37; of asthmatics, the illness may have
    > been caused, or made worse, by workplace exposures. Some
    > occupational exposures are well known risks for asthma
    > development (e.g., western red cedar; isocyanates). Indoor
    > environment research has identified evidence of an
    > association between damp buildings and asthma symptoms in
    > individuals with pre-existing asthma. There is also new
    > evidence of an association between damp buildings and new-
    > onset asthma. In an individual with new-onset asthma or
    > worsening of stable pre-existing asthma, measurements of
    > lung function made several times a day at work and at home
    > over several weeks may reveal a pattern of changing lung
    > function that suggests a workplace cause.
    > For individuals with new-onset asthma or worsening of
    > stable pre-existing asthma that is suspected to be related
    > to the indoor environment, controlling or eliminating the
    > sources of indoor contaminants, along with optimal medical
    > treatment, may lead to symptoms of improvement or
    > resolution.
    > What workers can do
    > When workers suspect their health problems are caused by
    > exposure to building-related mold and dampness, workers
    > should:
    > Report concerns immediately to supervisors or those persons
    > responsible for building maintenance
    > See your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment
    > Ask your doctor whether you should be medically restricted
    > from the affected environment
    > What management and building owners can do
    > When health problems are believed to be caused by exposure
    > to mold in the workplace, owners and managers should:
    > Advise workers to see their doctor for proper diagnosis and
    > treatment
    > Evaluate the work area for evidence of mold and dampness
    > Repair leaks and remediate water damaged materials
    > Communicate with workers about areas of the building with
    > evidence of mold or moisture damage and provide the status
    > of remediation plans
    > Arrange for relocation of workers whose doctors restrict
    > them from the implicated work environments
    > Resources
    > Facts About Mold - American Industrial Hygiene Association
    > (AIHA)
    > Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Indoor Mold
    > Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association 2008.
    > ISBN 978-1-931504-91-1
    > Facts About Mold and Dampness - Centers for Disease Control
    > and Prevention (CDC)
    > Mold Resources - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    > Damp Indoor Spaces and Health - Institute of Medicine (IOM)
    > Preventing Mold-Related Problems in the Indoor Workplace -
    > Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
    > Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor
    > Environments - New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH)
    > References
    > Brandt M, Brown C, Burkhart J, Burton N, Cox Ganser J,
    > Damon S, Falk H, Fridkin S, Garbe P, McGeehin M, Morgan J,
    > Page E, Rao C, Redd S, Sinks T, Trout D, Wallingford K,
    > Warnock D, Weissman D. Mold prevention strategies and
    > possible health effects in the aftermath of hurricanes and
    > major floods. MMWR. 2006 June; 55(RR-8):1-27.
    > Cox-Ganser JM, White SK, Jones R, Hilsbos K, Storey E,
    > Enright PL, Rao CY, Kreiss K. Respiratory Morbidity in
    > Office Workers in a Water-Damaged Building. Environ Health
    > Perspect. 2005 April; 113(4): 485-490.
    > Fink JN, Ortega HG, Reynolds HY, Cormier YF, et al. Needs
    > and Opportunities for Research in Hypersensitivity
    > Pneumonitis. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical
    > Care Medicine, 2005 April 1.
    > Hoffman RE, Wood RC, Kreiss K. [1993]. Building-related
    > asthma in Denver office workers. Am J Public Health 83:89-
    > 93. Environ Health Perspect. 2005 April; 113(4): 485-490.
    > Park J, Cox-Ganser J, Rao C, Kreiss K. Fungal and endotoxin
    > measurements in dust associated with respiratory symptoms
    > in a water-damaged office building. Indoor Air 2006 Jun;
    > 16:192-203.
    > Park JH, Cox-Ganser JM, Kreiss K, White SK, Rao CY.
    > Hydrophilic fungi and ergosterol associated with
    > respiratory illness in a water-damaged building. Environ
    > Health Perspect. 2008 Jan; 116(1):45-50.
    > Sahakian NM, White SK, Park JH, Cox-Ganser JM, Kreiss K.
    > Identification of mold and dampness-associated respiratory
    > morbidity in 2 schools: comparison of questionaire survey
    > responses to national data. J Sch Health. 2008 Jan; 78
    > (1):32-37.
    > Page updated June 1, 2010

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