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.


 
 

 

Trick-or-treat safely this Halloween

Excitement is in the air and ghosts, ghouls, monsters and princesses will be out in mass, October 31, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.. Accidents and mishaps increase during this event. To prevent them use common sense, be aware of potential hazards, and take precautions. Halloween Costume Safety: · Wear flame retardant costumes. · Hem your costumes so you don’t...
 
 

Airmen lead the way in last pre Ranger course

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada – Twenty-one Airmen from around the Air Force were put to the test both physically and mentally in their pursuits to attend the U.S. Army Ranger school during the Ranger Assessment Course Oct. 2-16, 2014, at Silver Flag Alpha range, Nevada. The course has existed in Nevada since the early 1980s, and...
 
 

DoD urges flu shots to maintain unit health, readiness

WASHINGTON – Flu season is underway and the Defense Department is making sure service members get flu shots because the illness, often considered mild, has a significant potential to affect operational readiness in unvaccinated units, an expert from the Defense Health Agency said this week. Air Force Lt. Col. Amy Costello, a pediatrician who specializes...
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Illustration by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

Don’t become a target

Considering recent threats against Americans and the exponential growth of social media use, becoming a target of an adversary is easier than ever. Operations Security is a process that identifies unclassified, critical informa...
 
 
BreastCancerAwareness_pict

An Airman’s story: My mother didn’t fight alone

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – His green eyes frantically searched the crowd for his dying mother. During his final pass and review at basic military training (BMT) he saw her in the stands, cheering him on. A year later, ...
 
 

Fire Prevention Week 2014

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski) Sparky the Fire Dog, National Fire Protection Association spokesdog, and members from the 355th Fire Emergency Services flight taught children from the Child Development Center how to stop, drop and roll at Davis-Monthan, Oct. 8. The 355th FES conducted several events in conjunction with Fire...
 




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