July 6, 2018

Mold partners with steamy monsoon

by 2nd Lt. GREGORY COX
355th Medical Group

With increasing humidity and temperatures, monsoon season at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base means prime conditions for mold growth.

Mold can be found almost everywhere. It grows rapidly indoors when coming in contact with building materials that have sufficient moisture to support growth.

The typical conditions leading to mold growth in buildings include inadequate moisture control, deficient ventilation systems, poor housekeeping, chronic water intrusion and/or isolated floods, such as from a burst water pipe. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold in the indoor environment; the best preventive measure to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture and ensure good housekeeping.

Observable mold in a facility can be safely cleaned by spraying a rag or sponge with any cleaner that contains bleach or a disinfectant solution. It is recommended to avoid using 100 percent bleach. Wipe the affected surface until clean.

Alternatively, the facility manager should have the area cleaned and inspect the facility for water intrusion. Air Force policy dictates that facility managers must clean and correct any small mold problems or water damage within their capability, such as replacing ceiling tiles with minor water damage promptly after ensuring the civil engineer squadron has fixed any leaks and caulked any foundation cracks. If mold contamination or water damage exceeds the building manager’s abilities, the manager will contact the CE customer service center at 520-228-3171 to request an AF Form 332 work order.

It may appear to some that toxic black mold, which is a specific mold variety and rarely found, is present. However, it is far more likely one of the 20,000 varieties that are bothersome rather than toxic is present.

If mold is suspected in a facility, contact the facility manager to check for any humidity-contributing factors. High humidity is unhealthy and creates breeding grounds for mold. When seen, it should be cleaned immediately. Mold is nothing to be feared as it is rarely a health concern.

For more information about mold control and prevention, go to the EPA website at:

For local information about mold and how to be rid of it, visit the Bioenvironmental Engineering E-Dash Page, Indoor Air Quality section (under the Occupational Health tab) at:

Find a link on the Bioenvironmental Engineering D-M Sharepoint Page at:

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