NYC School Mold Information

school moldA healthy learning environment provides many benefits. A school contaminated with mold increases absenteeism, reduces test scores, along with student and teacher productivity.  Good indoor air quality (IAQ) is important to the health of  NYC students and faculty.

Most experienced parents and teachers know that sending children to schools with classroom mold contamination can lead to a sharp increase of mold-related symptoms such as a stuffy nose­, headaches, sore throat, red itchy eyes, restlessness, stomach aches, drowsiness, and serious breathing and asthma episodes.

Microbiological contaminants, such as molds, account for half of indoor air health complaints. Schools that are in poor structural repair with leaking roofs and damaged walls cause indoor air quality problems. School districts that cut spending on cleaning and repair budgets are penny-wise and pound-foolish. The damage from air pollution to occupants only increases the liability and repair costs later.

Below is a mold remediation checklist for schools from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Investigate and evaluate moisture and mold problems

  • Assess size of moldy area (square feet)
  • Consider the possibility of hidden mold
  • Clean up small mold problems and fix moisture problems before they become large problems
  • Select remediation manager for medium or large size mold problem
  • Investigate areas associated with occupant complaints
  • Identify source(s) or cause of water or moisture problem(s)
  • Note type of water-damaged materials (wallboard, carpet, etc.)
  • Check inside air ducts and air handling unit
  • Throughout process, consult qualified professional if necessary or desired

Communicate with building occupants at all stages of process, as appropriate

  • Designate contact person for questions and comments about medium or large scale remediation as needed

Plan Remediation

  • Adapt or modify remediation guidelines to fit your situation; use professional judgment
  • Plan to dry wet, non-moldy materials within 48 hours to prevent mold growth (see Table 1 and text)
  • Select cleanup methods for moldy items (see Table 2 and text)
  • Select Personal Protection Equipment – protect remediators (see Table 2 and text)
  • Select containment equipment – protect building, occupants (see Table 2 and text)
  • Select remediation personnel who have the experience and training needed to implement the remediation plan and use Personal Protective Equipment and containment as appropriate

Remediate moisture and mold problems

  • Fix moisture problem, implement repair plan and/or maintenance plan
  • Dry wet, non-moldy materials within 48 hours to prevent mold growth
  • Clean and dry mold materials (see Table 2 and text)
  • Discard moldy porous items that can’t be cleaned (see Table 2 and text)

Questions to Consider Before Remediating

  • Are there existing moisture problems in the building?
  • Have building materials been wet more than 48 hours?  (See Table 2 and text)
  • Are there hidden sources of water or is the humidity too high (high enough to cause condensation)?
  • Are building occupants reporting musty or moldy odors?
  • Are building occupants reporting health problems?
  • Are building materials or furnishings visibly damaged?
  • Has maintenance been delayed or the maintenance plan been altered?
  • Has the building been recently remodeled or has building use changed?
  • Is consultation with medical or health professionals indicated?

Avoid Exposure to and Contact with Mold

  • Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Please note that this checklist was designed to highlight key parts of a school or commercial building remediation and does not list all potential steps or problems.

See also the Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments.

If you represent a NYC school in Manhattan, Queens or the Bronx and you either suspect a problem or have received violation notices for school mold, we can perform a free visual inspection and provide an estimate for you.

Contact us today for a free consultation!

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