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    Post: The American Lung Association Of Oklahoma

    Posted by john on 2/14/04

    MOLD: Is School Making Your Child Sick?

    The American Lung Association Of Oklahoma Can Help

    TULSA, Okla., March 8 /PRNewswire

    Is your child suffering from asthma, chronic fatigue, loss
    of balance, irritability, nosebleeds, chronic sinus or
    respiratory infections? If so, and symptoms seem to be
    worse when school is in session, the American Lung
    Association of Oklahoma suggests it may be caused by
    exposure to mold in school.

    Many parents are realizing the connection between air
    quality and health. The current scare with several schools
    in northeast Oklahoma has many parents as well as school
    administrators asking if they have a mold problem.

    Indoor Air Quality-Tools for Schools, developed in
    partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, is a
    program offered by the American Lung Association of
    Oklahoma to help schools identify sources of air quality
    problems and cost-effective measures to correct those

    Districts that have taken a pro-active approach and are
    hosting a training before a problem occurs are Bartlesville
    and Lawton. Bartlesville is scheduled for March 20, 2001,
    and Lawton, May 4, 2001. By pre-registering through the
    Lung Association office, school facility managers and
    administrators may attend. For further information or to
    register for the upcoming trainings, call the ALAO at 800-

    "The presence of mold in the indoor environment is enough
    to raise concern, yet the focus seems to be on what type of
    mold it is and at what level, rather than the source of the
    mold, how it can be corrected, and then how to eradicate or
    clean up the mold while protecting the health of
    occupants," according to American Lung Association employee
    Darla Akin. "If you know your building has mold, it's more
    important to get rid of it than to simply find out what
    kind of mold it is."

    Mold is a microscopic organism containing enzymes that aid
    in digestion and decomposition. It is a necessary part of
    our environment. Without mold and its reproducing spores,
    our earth would be overrun with dead plants and animals.
    But breathing mold is not healthy particularly in the
    indoor environment.

    Stachybotrys is an uncommon mold that grows indoors and is
    the most toxic. Cladosporiu, Penecillium, and Alternaria
    are more common, milder molds yet they can still cause
    health problems.

    Testing for mold takes time and money, precious resources
    to most school districts. Because even the milder molds can
    cause health problems, schools need to correct the source
    of the mold problem and then clean up existing mold when
    occupants are not in the building.

    Testing may tell you at what level your mold is and what
    type it is but there is no benchmark that says whether or
    not this is a hazardous level. People react differently, so
    what may be hazardous to one individual may have no outward
    impact on another individual in the same environment. And,
    just because an individual is not getting sick does not
    mean that it is healthy to breathe mold, particularly on an
    ongoing long-term basis in an indoor environment.

    The American Lung Association of Oklahoma recommends
    schools become proactive in addressing indoor air quality
    and not wait for occupants to become ill before thinking
    about taking steps to improve air quality.

    "Spring is the perfect time for schools to go through the
    training and begin addressing indoor air quality. Schools
    can take the summer to implement many of the cost-effective
    measures to improve indoor air quality. While some mold
    problems are due to roof leaks, some are caused simply by
    poor air circulation. Books piled on air vents obstructing
    airflow can cause air circulation problems. Part of a good
    plan is taking these small, no cost yet significant steps
    to improve indoor air quality," says Akin.

    When you can't breathe, nothing else matters!

    Contact: Darla Akin, Field Services Director of American
    Lung Association of Oklahoma, 918-747-3441, ext. 205.

    SOURCE American Lung Association of Oklahoma

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