Health & Safety

September 6, 2012

Beware of mold

Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight
355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron

With the Arizona monsoon season in full swing and humid weather the norm, mold growth can become prevalent in homes and buildings. Mold is a type of fungus that grows on damp surfaces or decaying organic matter. It is found everywhere, both outdoors and inside of buildings and homes. Mold only becomes a concern if it begins to overgrow.

Signs of mold overgrowth include visible mold on surfaces or a building with a damp, musty smell. Mold overgrowth can cause structural damage to roofs and walls inside of buildings. It also may cause allergy like symptoms in some individuals.

Symptoms often reported are runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and nasal stuffiness. Those who suffer from asthma or other respiratory disorders may be more sensitive to mold exposure. In rare instances mold exposure can result in severe fungal infections in persons who have weakened immune systems.

Building occupants can prevent or eliminate most mold growth. The first step is to create an atmosphere that does not promote growth. Molds will grow and multiply in moist/humid areas and in the presence of decaying organic material. Be on the lookout in your home for common sources of indoor moisture that may lead to mold problems. Some common sources include a leaky roof or windows, burst pipes, wet insulation within walls or ceiling, and poorly draining bathtubs and shower stalls. Home owners might want to consider utilizing a dehumidifier during the monsoon season to help pull moisture out of the building.

If mold overgrowth continues to be a problem and the affected area is less than 10 square feet, wipe down the area with a solution of one part bleach and 10 parts water. Be sure to protect your hand and eyes from irritation by wearing gloves and eye protection. Do not mix bleach with other cleaning products that contain ammonia because a highly toxic chlorine gas can be produced. Only mix bleach with water. For protection from mold spores while cleaning, N-95 respirator masks are handy and can be purchased at local hardware stores. They look just like dust masks but are designed to fit more snugly around the mouth and nose to provide better protection from mold spores. They do not, however, protect against chemical gases or vapors. No matter how many times they are cleaned, large porous items are very difficult to thoroughly clean and mold is likely to return. Therefore, it is best to dispose of heavily-contaminated items.

For moldy areas larger than 10 square feet it may be necessary to hire a professional to remove the mold. However, be wary of businesses claiming to test or sample for mold. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Environmental Protection Agency do not advocate mold testing because test results provide little useful information. No matter what species or how many spores are present, the removal process is the same. In addition, every person has a different threshold for mold sensitivity, so a higher quantity of airborne mold does not necessarily mean more health problems for the building occupants.

If you are a resident of base housing, Soaring Heights will evaluate and treat the problem. Do not call outside contractors if you live in base housing. For other on-base buildings such as the dorms, contact your building manager; so that he or she can take appropriate steps to remedy the situation.

Anyone who experiences symptoms they suspect are caused by mold should see their physician. For on-base housing, if necessary, the doctor can recommend an evaluation of the patient’s home which must be coordinated through Soaring Heights. Occupants of base housing who wish to report the presence of mold in their home should call Soaring Heights at (520) 745-5024.

The bottom line is that mold occurs everywhere, but prevention and control of mold overgrowth can prevent most building damage and adverse health effects.

For more information in regards to the contents of this article, readers may contact the 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight at 228-5369 or 228-1903. They may also go online to the Environmental Protection Agency website at http://www.epa.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/mold/default.htm.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Tip line reports illegal acts to AFOSI

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Reporting suspicious activity has become much easier. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations established a tip line for the Air Force to support the insider-threat mission. The tip line is an anonymous reporting mechanism to advise law enforcement of illegal activities. It provides an easily accessible avenue for individuals to...
 
 

Enterovirus spreads throughout country, launches Flu season

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Enterovirus is spreading throughout the country starting from the East Coast, making its way to the West. From mid-August to Sept. 18, a total of 153 people in 18 states were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. In the upcoming weeks, more states will have confirmed cases of EV-D68...
 
 

Any cruelty harmful to family

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Shakespeare October in Arizona is a time for outdoor barbecues and football tailgating parties. But October is also Domestic Violence Prevention Month. Domestic violence is one of those topics not often raised at those barbecues and tailgating parties. Yet,...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Michael Voss)

When responding to surveys, check to ensure they’re official

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) – Airmen around the world are asked to respond to many surveys, some of which are official and legitimate. Others, however, are not official and Airmen should not respond to ...
 
 

‘Quest for Zero’ debuts with focus on risk management

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) — Air Force Ground Safety introduces the ‘Quest for Zero’ campaign to focus on risk management and on-duty safety. The campaign is designed for every Airman, in all career fields, to raise awareness of the hazards they face every day, at work and at home. “Readiness is paramount to...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force graphic by Naoko Shimoji) 

Cyber security: Our present, our future

Cyber technologies and the Internet are an integral part of everyone’s lives these days, whether at work, at home, on the go, for fun, to keep us healthy, manage our finances and even to save our lives. Most of our day-to-day...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin