Whenever there's mold in schools, children are at risk of developing health problems associated with breathing. Knowing how mold grows and its effects will help schools take the proper precautions. Proper ventilation, regular cleaning, and exposure to sunlight are the best defenses against mold in schools.
Mold is a living organism that grows on moist, dark surfaces that can cause respiratory issues when the spore count rises to a dangerous level. Mold spores exist in the air all around us, and most of the time, these levels are harmless.
This article will explore what mold is, how it affects people in indoor environments—particularly schools—and the best prevention methods.
Mold is a type of fungus. It grows on moist surfaces, away from light. Mold spores are in the air all around us, but usually, mold will not grow if there is enough light or ventilation.
There are many types of mold that have different effects on humans and animals. Mold typically grows on organic matter such as wood, paper, and soil but can also take root in buildings with damp walls or furniture.
Some types of mold produce mycotoxins which can cause respiratory issues for humans and animals when the spore count rises to a dangerous level. Therefore, killing mold should be done by a mold specialist to ensure the problem doesn't become a recurring issue.
Mold in schools appears as a fuzzy, often green growth on a wet surface. There's typically a musty odor associated with mold in school—noticing the smell without seeing the growth could mean the mold is behind the walls.
Mold can grow in schools and homes where there are leaks or water damage. These moist spots give the mold spores present in the air at all times a place to take hold and grow. When mold isn't taken care of, mold growth will continue to worsen, and mold colonies will form.
Some molds may be harmless and won't cause any health problems. However, some types of mold may cause health issues such as asthma, allergies, hay fever, immune system deficiencies, and nasal polyps.
Typically, mold grows well in damp places like basements, bathrooms, and crawl spaces. But, when there is mold in schools, it's because a part of the building takes on similar characteristics as the more common dwellings where it's found—dark and moist, with little traffic.
Proper ventilation is one of the three keys to preventing mold in school. Keeping a steady airflow doesn't allow the mold spores present in the air to take root on the damp surface, limiting the growth potential.
Most of the time, schools have continuous airflow, but when the building is empty, schools saving on air conditioning costs can turn off the system during the summer months. Unfortunately, these savings can lead to stagnant air and give mold spores a needed chance to grow on damp surfaces.
Cleaning the walls and floors on a regular schedule limits the chance for mold growth. Standard cleaning solutions and water will do the trick because, in essence, they are disrupting the mold growth from developing. If you've dealt with mold in schools before and know it's a recurring problem, switching to a specialized mold cleaner could help.
Sunlight will heat surfaces, making them less likely for mold growth. For schools that may not have adequate ventilation, this is a valuable method of mold control. Opening blinds and, if possible, windows will create a one-two punch of sunlight exposure and ventilation that helps prevent mold in schools.
Mold can grow in dark, moist spaces with limited airflow—so, preventing mold growth requires negating all three of these three growth conditions!
Proper ventilation will help mold spores stay away from damp surfaces and limit their growth, regular cleaning prevents mold from taking root, and exposure to sunlight can reduce mold's growth by heating any surface where mold might thrive. If you know that your school has recurring mold issues, it may be worth exploring specialized mold cleaners.
Give Living Solutions Construction a call or reach out via our contact page if you are in the Baton Rouge area and dealing with mold in schools. Our mold experts are standing by and ready to help keep your students safe. We can be there fast, so everyone stays healthy and ready to learn!