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
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
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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