Thursday, March 29, 2012

Control Mold and Moisture This Spring: The IAQ Tools for Schools Connector E-Newsletter



News and Events

Mold and Moisture — Potential Health Effects and Safe Clean-up Practices

Top 10 Tips to Control Mold and Moisture This Spring

Get Answers to Your Questions

Did You Know …

EPA’s IAQ Tools for Schools guidance was featured as a useful tool to proactively manage environmental health in schools at the Green Schools National Conference, which was held February 27–29, 2012, in Denver, Colorado?

Check out the presentation slides from the breakout session, titled “A Comprehensive Approach to Healthy and Sustainable School Environments,” featuring Dave Hill from Blue Valley School District in Kansas and Brian Kasher from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. Both Dave and Brian gave personal accounts of how the IAQ Tools for Schools Framework has not only helped to improve IAQ in their districts, but also advanced student achievement and reduced absenteeism.

Should we have our schools tested for radon? How do we keep mold from returning once it has been removed?

Find answers to these and other questions on the Schools IAQ Connector Email Discussion List. Join today by sending a blank email message to Then check your email inbox for confirmation and membership details.

Access Previous Connector E-Newsletters Online

Can’t find a previous IAQ Tools for Schools Connector e-newsletter in your email inbox? No problem! Visit the e-newsletter archive on the IAQ Tools for Schools website to access printable versions (PDFs) of all past editions.

News and Events

· Provide Feedback on EPA’s Draft State K-12 School Environmental Health Program Guidelines. EPA has partnered with the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to host a webinar to give schools an opportunity to provide feedback on EPA’s draft K-12 Environmental Health Program Guidelines. The first of two webinars will be held on April 4, 2012, from 12–1:15 p.m. EST. Register today!

· Attend a Free Training Healthy School Environments Across Texas. Participants will learn from Texas school district representatives and national experts how to create healthy indoor environments in schools in order to protect student and staff health. The conference will be held April 23–24, 2012, in Garland, Texas. Register today!

· Celebrate National Healthy Schools Day. On April 24, 2012, celebrate and promote healthy and green indoor school environments for all children and staff. National Healthy Schools Day is coordinated by Healthy Schools Network, Inc., EPA and the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) and promotes the use of EPA’s IAQ Tools for Schools guidance. It also kicks off School Building Week.

· Attend the National Association of School Nurses' 44th Annual Conference. This conference will summarize the current research and evidence for school nursing practice, and describe ongoing efforts to promote health and prevent disease and disability in the school community. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn about indoor environmental issues, such as asthma management. The conference will be held June 23–26, 2012, in San Francisco, California. Register today!


Mold and Moisture — Potential Health Effects and Safe Clean-up Practices

As you prepare for spring’s warmer weather, consider taking some time to review your district’s policies and procedures related to mold and moisture control. Your school can be proactive in its moisture control practices, which are the key to controlling indoor mold growth.

Pictured above: Ponca City School District representatives working to identify and solve the district’s IAQ challenges.

The photo above was provided by Dave Blake and Rich Prill. Check out their IAQ Walkthrough webinar presentation.

Why is mold and moisture control so important?

Molds are a major source of indoor allergens and can trigger asthma in sensitive individuals. Even when spores are dead or unable to grow, mold can cause health effects, such as allergic reactions. The types and severity of health effects associated with exposure to mold depend, in part, on the type of mold present and the extent of the occupants' exposure and existing sensitivities or allergies. Prompt and effective remediation of moisture problems is essential to minimize potential mold exposures and their potential health effects. These negative health effects can lead to increased absenteeism and reduced performance in both staff and students.

To learn more about how IAQ issues, including mold and moisture, can affect student and staff performance, visit

How should mold be safely cleaned?

It is essential to clean up mold as well as excess water or moisture, because moisture is the key to mold control. If the excess water or moisture problem is not fixed, mold will most likely grow again, even if the area is completely cleaned. Clean hard surfaces with water and detergent and dry them quickly and completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles may have to be discarded if the mold cannot be completely removed.

To clean up mold safely and effectively, staff should wear waterproof gloves during clean up and should not touch mold or moldy items with bare hands. Respiratory protection should also be used in most remediation situations to prevent inhalation exposure to mold.

To learn more about how to safely clean mold, visit Clean Up.


Top 10 Tips to Control Mold and Moisture This Spring

The IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit and The Framework for Effective School IAQ Management: Technical Solutions provide practical tips to control mold and moisture in schools. This spring, take action at your school by taking the following steps:

1. Establish a mold prevention and remediation plan within your greater IAQ management program.

2. View the IAQ Reference Guide on Mold and Moisture for tips on identifying and correcting common mold and moisture issues.

3. Inspect all school buildings for signs of mold, moisture, leaks or spills, or evidence of past water damage.

4. Prevent moisture condensation by increasing surface temperature, installing proper insulation and improving air circulation.

5. Eliminate sources of moisture by reducing indoor humidity; maintain indoor humidity levels between 30 and 60 percent.

6. Respond promptly when you see signs of moisture and/or mold or when leaks or spills occur. Dry all wet areas within 24 to 48 hours.

7. Perform regular heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) inspections and maintenance as scheduled. Ensure HVAC drip pans are clean, unobstructed and flowing properly.

8. Review EPA's "Mold Remediation in Schools and Large Buildings" to learn about mold growth in schools and how it can be managed.

9. Educate school community members, including teachers, school officials, and facilities and maintenance staff, on the importance of mold and moisture control.

10. Review the Mold and Moisture: Double Trouble for Schools webinar presentation given by Peggy Caruso, IAQ Coordinator for Katy Independent School District in Texas and Todd Spore with PBK Architects. Learn cost-effective solutions to prevent and control mold and moisture, and find technical information about remediating mold or moisture intrusion.

IAQ Presentations


Get Answers to Your Questions

Is there a topic you want to see covered in an IAQ Tools for Schools Connector e-newsletter? Do you have suggestions for a webinar or e-newsletter feature, or do you have questions about a specific IAQ topic? If so, send us an email at

Share YOUR news and events! Send us information to share with the school IAQ community. It could be featured in the next Connector e-newsletter. Email your news and events to

The IAQ Tools for Schools guidance is a comprehensive resource designed to help schools maintain a healthy environment in school buildings by identifying, correcting and preventing IAQ problems. Learn more about the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance at



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