Environmental Health Experts Release Guidance to Prevent Debilitating Effects of Mold
Falls Church, Va. (June 17, 2021)—AIHA, the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) in the workplace and community, has published a free resource for consumers titled “Facts About Mold: A Consumer Focus” (PDF). This is a downloadable guide to the issues of mold contamination and growth and what members of the public can do to prevent it. AIHA has also released a short video series on issues related to mold in residential buildings.
The document was sponsored by the AIHA Indoor Environmental Quality Committee and the AIHA Biosafety and Environmental Microbiology Committee and drafted by a team of experts with over 25 years of experience with mold and damp problems. It provides information for consumers to assess mold and dampness in buildings, especially residential and home environments.
Mold in the home can affect building safety and structure and negatively impact residents’ health. Residents with mold allergies may experience sneezing, nasal congestion, red eyes, skin rash, and—in more serious cases—severe allergic complications and upper-respiratory health issues. Those with asthma, infants, the elderly, and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to mold-related health problems.
Homes in areas susceptible to flooding, tornadoes, wildfires, and hurricanes (also known as cyclones or typhoons) are at greater risk for water and mold damage. “With hurricane season underway,” advised Don Weekes, CIH, CSP, FAIHA, a member of the Indoor Environmental Quality Committee, “it’s not too soon to think about ways to keep moisture out of your home and how to avoid facilitating mold growth.”
Aside from floods generated by severe weather, Weekes remarked that there are many ways for moisture to enter residences and stimulate mold problems, such as “Leaks in the building envelope, including the window frames, roof, and basement walls and floors, as well as unattended plumbing leaks.”
“Elevated relative humidity levels and condensation on cool surfaces, such as kitchen and bathroom surfaces, window frames, and in basements, can also lead to considerable mold damage,” Weekes added.
Consumers’ ability to protect themselves from mold-related health and safety problems relies on them knowing how to prevent and address these sources of moisture. AIHA’s new guidelines also enable residents of affected homes to identify and remove mold and water damage in limited areas and with proper protection during and after the work.
For help regarding more severe mold and moisture damage, AIHA encourages the public to use its Consultants’ Listing to contact an OEHS professional or a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). These individuals are trained to inspect homes with potential water and mold damage and to make recommendations for remedial work.
AIHA is the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety in the workplace and community. Founded in 1939, we support our members with our expertise, networks, comprehensive education programs, and other products and services that help them maintain the highest professional and competency standards. More than half of AIHA's nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed across the public and private sectors as well as to the communities in which they work. For more information, please visit www.aiha.org