Thursday, February 09, 2012

Student housing issues: Mold problems

Mold is a potential health hazard.
When students leave their parents’ house for the first time in their lives to live close to the campus of their choice, many are looking forward to the new experience and becoming independent.

But what if their new living conditions become unbearable?

In many cases, landlords are not liable when it comes to mold and other indoor air quality issues.

The Student Government Association at West Virginia University is asking for a bill to be passed to protect tenants facing mold in their homes.

What is mold?

Mold is a common indoor air pollutant because can easily grow on surfaces if there is enough water or humidity.

Mold spores are everywhere in the environment, and they can grow in visible spots or remain hidden behind drywall and underneath floors.

If there is a water leak or plumbing problem with standing water, mold can start growing after 24 -48 hours, experts say.

Health effects of mold

Mold exposure can lead to sneezing
and respiratory irritation.
Exposure to mold can make some people sick. Health effects can include sneezing, watery eyes, eye, nose and throat irritation, aggravated asthma and allergies, and more.

At West Virginia University, many students have become sick from mold and were forced to move out. However, they are still required to pay rent because landlords are not being liable.

The student association wants both parties to be able to work together to fix the problems in a timely manner and avoid health issues.

Source: The Daily Athenaeum 

How to remove mold and other indoor air pollutants

Mold needs to be removed once it is detected, but disturbing the mold will cause mold spores to become airborne, so it has to be done properly and with the right materials.

  • Fix the problem. If you just get rid of the mold, but the water/humidity problem is still there, the mold will just grow back.
  • Control humidity. Make sure the space is well ventilated, use a dehumidifier if needed and take steps to keep humidity levels at 30-50%.
  • Remove the mold. If there is not too much mold, you can remove it yourself. Refer to the EPA’s mold removal instructions and make sure you use masks and other protective equipment.
  • Use an air purifier. An air purifier with activated carbon and HEPA plus optional UV can help remove a wide range of indoor air contaminants, including mold, chemicals, gases, odors, particles, allergens, bacteria, viruses and dust.
AllerAir offers portable air purifiers for mold, allergy and asthma as well as odor and chemical control, among other specializations.

Contact AllerAir for more information and options.