(See specific indoor air pollutants in Chapter 2, “Air Quality (Outdoor [Ambient] and Indoor)”)
Molds and Other Fungi
(See endnote 57)
Molds which are part of the natural environment out of doors may produce spores which are transported indoors and may grow in wet or damp areas. Molds may produce allergens which can become irritants or potentially toxic when inhaled or touched, especially if the individual is sensitive to them. Molds can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs. Molds have an excellent opportunity to grow especially after any type of flooding or where high humidity is present.
Best Practices for Molds and Other Fungi
• Remove all visible water and dry out moist areas within structures as rapidly as possible.
• Fix all leaking pipes, equipment, and appliances immediately.
• Vent all dryers directly to the outside air.
• Discard all absorbent or porous material including carpets that have been exposed to water.
• Scrub mold off of hard surfaces with detergent and water and thoroughly dry the surface.
• Use the special N-95 Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirator available at hardware stores, etc., to avoid breathing in mold or mold spores. (See endnote 55.)
• Use long gloves when removing mold to avoid contact with the skin and then wash your hands and forearms very carefully and rinse them thoroughly.
• Wear goggles without ventilation holes to avoid contact between mold and your eyes.
• Reduce humidity within the structure.
• Avoid all fungi by reducing repeated or prolonged contact of the skin with flood waters and the continuous sweating which may occur in special personal protective equipment.
• Seek immediate medical attention if skin eruptions or flu-like symptoms occur.
• Use professional mold removal services if the area which needs to be treated is extensive or if it is suspected that the mold is in hidden places such as drywall that is covered with vinyl wallpaper or wood paneling, which therefore are vapor barriers and contain the moisture for mold growth. (See endnote 56.)
• Wear appropriate personal protective equipment when investigating or removing mold from the area.
• When you use biocides or disinfectants to control and remove mold, ventilate the area. (See endnote 64.)