Industrial Hygiene and Air Quality

 

  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Hazard Communication
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Hearing Conservation Program
  • Chemical Monitoring
  • Asbestos
  • Lead
  • Thermal Stress
  • Confined Spaces
  • Ergonomics


Contact: Raul F. Garcia-Casariego CSP, CHMM @ 305-243-8443


 Facts and Myths Regarding Mold (Fungi or Mildew)

  • Fungal spores are ubiquitous in nature. Except in an sterile environment (such as a surgical suite or a clean room) we can expect to be exposed to fungal spores.
  • Neither CDC nor EPA recommend testing for mold. Therefore, we rely on visual detection, source identification and professional eradication of any affected surface/area.
  • There are no “safe” level or standard that prescribed a permissible exposure limit for mold. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) currently does not have a standard on indoor air quality or mold.
  • The City of New York Department of Health Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments is a consensus document which has been accepted and is being followed by most industrial hygienist, safety professionals and environmental health practitioners.
  • In order for mold to amplify (grow) water must be present. This can be in the form of high levels of relative humidity (> 60%) or water activity on building surfaces resulting from leaks, floods or condensation.
  • Responding, assessing and remediating mold contamination requires a team. The stakeholders are: 1) the occupants, 2) Physical Plant, and 3) Environmental Health and Safety.

Prevention

Here is what building occupants can do:

  1. Immediately report to Physical Plant any water damage to any building surfaces or water entry into the building envelope.
  2. Report to Physical Plant any discoloration on building surfaces, such as ceiling / tiles, walls, wallpaper, etc. which suggests the presence of mold.
  3. Report to Physical Plant and EHS the presence, or suspected presence of mold.
  4. Report to Physical Plant if environmental conditions favorable for mold amplification appear to be present (excessive relative humidity, surface condensation, dust accumulation on air supply registers, drastic changes in temperature).
  5. Obtain factual, professional information from EHS and do not rely on rumors or hearsay.