A Brief Guide To Mold In The Workplace - OSHA

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A Brief Guide To Mold In The Workplace - OSHA Powered By Docstoc
					                   U.S. Department of Labor
                   Occupational Safety and Health Admistration
                   Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine
                   Office of Science and Technology Assessment

                        A Brief Guide to Mold in the Workplace
                                   Safety and Health Information Bulletin
                                                                                           SHIB 03-10-10
                                                            This Safety and Health Information Bulletin is not a
        Concern about indoor exposure to mold has     standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obliga-
                                                      tions. The Bulletin is advisory in nature, informational in
increased along with public awareness that
                                                      content, and is intended to assist building managers, custodi-
exposure to mold can cause a variety of health
                                                      ans, and others who are responsible for building mainte-
effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions.   nance. Contractors and other professionals (e.g., environ-
This safety and health information bulletin           mental consultants and health or safety professionals) who
provides recommendations for the prevention of        respond to mold and moisture situations in buildings, as well
mold growth and describes measures designed to        as members of the general public, also may want to refer to
protect the health of building occupants and          these guidelines.
workers involved in mold cleanup and prevention.
This bulletin is directed primarily at building              The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires
managers, custodians, and others responsible for      employers to comply with hazard-specific safety and health
                                                      standards as issued and enforced by either the Federal
building maintenance, but may also be used as a       Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), or
basic reference for those involved in mold            an OSHA-approved State Plan. In addition, Section 5(a)(1),
remediation.                                          the General Duty Clause, requires employers to provide
                                                      their employees with a workplace free from recognized
        By reading this safety and health             hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.
                                                      Employers can be cited for violating the General Duty
information bulletin, individuals with little or no   Clause if there is such a recognized hazard and they do not
experience with mold remediation may be able to       take reasonable steps to prevent or abate the hazard.
reasonably judge whether mold contamination can       However, failure to implement these guidelines is not, in
be managed in-house or whether outside assistance     itself, a violation of the General Duty Clause. Citations can
is required. The advice of a medical professional     only be based on standards, regulations, and the General
                                                      Duty Clause.
should always be sought if there are any emerging
health issues. This document will help those
responsible for building maintenance in the                   The information in these guidelines is
evaluation of remediation plans. Contractors and      intended only as a summary of basic procedures
other professionals (e.g. industrial hygienists or    and is not intended, nor should it be used, as a
other environmental health and safety                 detailed guide to mold remediation. These
professionals) who respond to mold and moisture       guidelines are subject to change as more
situations in buildings, as well as members of the    information regarding mold contamination and
general public, also may find these guidelines        remediation becomes available.

                                                      Mold Basics
 Mold Basics                                           and the right temperature to proliferate. This explains
                                                       why mold infestation is often found in damp, dark,
       Molds are part of the natural environment.      hidden spaces; light and air circulation dry areas out,
Molds are fungi that can be found anywhere -           making them less hospitable for mold.
inside or outside - throughout the year. About
1,000 species of mold can be found in the United              Molds gradually damage building materials
States, with more than 100,000 known species           and furnishings. If left unchecked, mold can
worldwide.                                             eventually cause structural damage to a wood-
                                                       framed building, weakening floors and walls as it
        Outdoors, molds play an important role in      feeds on moist wooden structural members. If you
nature by breaking down organic matter such as         suspect that mold has damaged building integrity,
toppled trees, fallen leaves, and dead animals. We     consult a structural engineer or other professional
would not have food and medicines, like cheese and     with the appropriate expertise.
penicillin, without mold.
                                                               Since mold requires water to grow, it is
        Indoors, mold growth should be avoided.        important to prevent excessive moisture in
Problems may arise when mold starts eating away        buildings. Some moisture problems in buildings
at materials, affecting the look, smell, and possibly, have been linked to changes in building
with the respect to wood-framed buildings,             construction practices since the 1970s, which
affecting the structural integrity of the buildings.   resulted in tightly sealed buildings with diminished
                                                       ventilation, contributing to moisture vapor
        Molds can grow on virtually any substance, buildup. Other moisture problems may result from
as long as moisture or water, oxygen, and an           roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water
organic source are present. Molds reproduce by         into or under a building, or unvented combustion
creating tiny spores (viable seeds) that usually       appliance. Delayed or insufficient maintenance
cannot be seen without magnification. Mold             may contribute to moisture problems in buildings.
spores continually float through the indoor and        Improper maintenance and design of building
outdoor air.                                           heating/ventilating/air-conditioning (HVAC)
                                                       systems, such as insufficient cooling capacity for
        Molds are usually not a problem unless         an air conditioning system, can result in elevated
mold spores land on a damp spot and begin              humidity levels in a building.
growing. They digest whatever they land on in
order to survive. There are molds that grow on         Health Effects
wood, paper, carpet, foods and insulation, while
other molds feast on the everyday dust and dirt that           Currently, there are no federal
gather in the moist regions of a building.             standards or recommendations, (e.g., OSHA,
                                                       NIOSH, EPA) for airborne concentrations of
        When excessive moisture or water               mold or mold spores. Scientific research on the
accumulates indoors, mold growth often will            relationship between mold exposures and health
occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains effects is ongoing. This section provides a brief
uncorrected. While it is impossible to eliminate all overview, but does not describe all potential health
molds and mold spores, controlling moisture can        effects related to mold exposure. For more
control indoor mold growth.                            detailed information, consult a health professional
                                                       or your state or local health department.
        All molds share the characteristic of being
able to grow without sunlight; mold needs only a               There are many types of mold. Most typical
viable seed (spore), a nutrient source, moisture,      indoor air exposures to mold do not present a risk of

adverse health effects. Molds can cause adverse                Prevention
effects by producing allergens (substances that can
cause allergic reactions). Potential health concerns are               Moisture control is the key to mold control.
important reasons to prevent mold growth and to                When water leaks or spills occur indoors - act
remediate existing problem areas.                              promptly. Any initial water infiltration should be
                                                               stopped and cleaned promptly. A prompt response
        The onset of allergic reactions to mold can            (within 24-48 hours) and thorough clean- up,
be either immediate or delayed. Allergic responses             drying, and/or removal of water-damaged materials
include hay fever-type symptoms such as runny                  will prevent or limit mold growth.
nose and red eyes.
                                                               Mold prevention tips include:
        Molds may cause localized skin or mucosal
infections but, in general, do not cause systemic                 •   Repairing plumbing leaks and leaks in the
infections in humans, except for persons with                         building structure as soon as possible.
impaired immunity, AIDS, uncontrolled diabetes,
or those taking immune suppressive drugs. An                      •   Looking for condensation and wet spots.
important reference with guidelines for                               Fix source(s) of moisture incursion
immunocompromised individuals can be found at                         problem(s) as soon as possible.
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) website (www.cdc.gov).                                      •   Preventing moisture from condensing by
                                                                      increasing surface temperature or reducing
        Molds can also cause asthma attacks in                        the moisture level in the air (humidity). To
some individuals who are allergic to mold. In                         increase surface temperature, insulate or
addition, exposure to mold can irritate the eyes,                     increase air circulation. To reduce the
skin, nose and throat in certain individuals.                         moisture level in the air, repair leaks,
Symptoms other than allergic and irritant types are                   increase ventilation (if outside air is cold
not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold                    and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is
in the indoor environment.                                            warm and humid).

       Some specific species of mold produce                      •   Keeping HVAC drip pans clean, flowing
mycotoxins under certain environmental                                properly, and unobstructed.
conditions. Potential health effects from
mycotoxins are the subject of ongoing scientific                  •   Performing regularly scheduled building/
research and are beyond the scope of this                             HVAC inspections and maintenance,
document.                                                             including filter changes.

        Eating, drinking, and using tobacco                       •   Maintaining indoor relative humidity below
products and cosmetics where mold remediation is                      70% (25 - 60%, if possible).
taking place should be avoided. This will prevent
unnecessary contamination of food, beverage,                      •   Venting moisturegenerating appliances,
cosmetics, and tobacco products by mold and other                     such as dryers, to the outside where
harmful substances within the work area.                              possible.

                                                                  •   Venting kitchens (cooking areas) and
                                                                      bathrooms according to local code

    •   Cleaning and drying wet or damp spots as                     Before planning the remediation assess the
        soon as possible, but no more than 48                extent of the mold or moisture problem and the
        hours after discovery.                               type of damaged materials. If you choose to hire
                                                             outside assistance to do the cleanup, make sure the
    •   Providing adequate drainage around buildings         contractor has experience with mold remediation.
        and sloping the ground away from building            Check references and ask the contractor to follow
        foundations. Follow all local building codes.        the recommendations in EPA’s publication, “Mold
                                                             Remediation in Schools and Commercial
    •   Pinpointing areas where leaks have                   Buildings,” or other guidelines developed by
        occurred, identifying the causes, and taking         professional or governmental organizations.
        preventive action to ensure that they do not
        reoccur.                                                      The remediation plan should include steps
                                                             to permanently correct the water or moisture
Questions That May Assist in Determining                     problem. The plan should cover the use of
Whether a Mold Problem Currently Exists                      appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
                                                             It also should include steps to carefully contain and
    •   Are building materials or furnishings                remove moldy building materials in a manner that
        visibly moisture damaged?                            will prevent further contamination. Remediation
                                                             plans may vary greatly depending on the size and
    •   Have building materials been wet more                complexity of the job, and may require revision if
        than 48 hours?                                       circumstances change or new facts are discovered.

    •   Are there existing moisture problems in the          If you suspect that the HVAC system is
        building?                                    contaminated with mold, or if mold is present near
                                                     the intake to the system, contact the National Air
    •   Are building occupants reporting musty or    Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), or consult
        moldy odors?                                 EPA’s guide, “Should You Have the Air Ducts in
                                                     Your Home Cleaned?” before taking further action.
    •   Are building occupants reporting health      Do not run the HVAC system if you know or
        problems that they think are related to mold suspect that it is contaminated with mold, as it
        in the indoor environment?                   could spread contamination throughout the
    •   Has the building been recently remodeled     building. If the water or mold damage was caused
        or has the building use changed?             by sewage or other contaminated water, consult a
                                                     professional who has experience cleaning and
    •   Has routine maintenance been delayed or      repairing buildings damaged by contaminated
        the maintenance plan been altered?           water.

                                                                     The remediation manager’s highest priority
Always consider consulting a health professional             must be to protect the health and safety of the building
to address any employee health concerns.                     occupants and remediators. Remediators should
                                                             avoid exposing themselves and others to mold-laden
Remediation Plan                                             dusts as they conduct their cleanup activities. Caution
                                                             should be used to prevent mold and mold spores from
        Remediation includes both the identification         being dispersed throughout the air where they can be
and correction of the conditions that permit mold            inhaled by building occupants. In some cases,
growth, as well as the steps to safely and effectively       especially those involving large areas of contamination,
remove mold damaged materials.

the remediation plan may include temporary relocation           A variety of cleanup methods are available for
of some or all of the building occupants.               remediating damage to building materials and
                                                        furnishings caused by moisture control problems
        When deciding if relocating occupants is        and mold growth. The specific method or group of
necessary, consideration should be given to the         methods used will depend on the type of material
size and type of mold growth, the type and extent       affected. Some methods that may be used include
of health effects reported by the occupants, the        the following:
potential health risks that could be associated with
the remediation activity, and the amount of             Wet Vacuum
disruption this activity is likely to cause. In
addition, before deciding to relocate occupants,                Wet vacuums are vacuum cleaners
one should also evaluate the remediator’s ability to    designed to collect water. They can be used to
contain/minimize possible aerosolization of mold        remove water from floors, carpets, and hard
spores given their expertise and the physical           surfaces where water has accumulated. They
parameters of the workspace. When possible,             should not be used to vacuum porous materials,
remediation activities should be scheduled during       such as gypsum board. Wet vacuums should be
off hours when building occupants are less likely       used only on wet materials, as spores may be
to be affected.                                         exhausted into the indoor environment if
                                                        insufficient liquid is present. The tanks, hoses, and
        Remediators, particularly those with health     attachments of these vacuums should be
related concerns, may wish to check with their          thoroughly cleaned and dried after use since mold
physicians or other health-care professionals           and mold spores may adhere to equipment
before working on mold remediation or                   surfaces.
investigating potentially moldy areas. If any
individual has health concerns, doubts, or              Damp Wipe
questions before beginning a remediation/cleanup
project, he or she should consult a health                      Mold can generally be removed from
professional.                                           nonporous surfaces by wiping or scrubbing with
                                                        water and detergent. It is important to dry these
Mold Remediation/Cleanup Methods                        surfaces quickly and thoroughly to discourage
                                                        further mold growth. Instructions for cleaning
        The purpose of mold remediation is to           surfaces, as listed on product labels, should always
correct the moisture problem and to remove moldy        be read and followed.
and contaminated materials to prevent human
exposure and further damage to building materials       HEPA Vacuum
and furnishings. Porous materials that are wet and
have mold growing on them may have to be                         HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air)
discarded because molds can infiltrate porous           vacuums are recommended for final cleanup of
substances and grow on or fill in empty spaces or       remediation areas after materials have been thoroughly
crevices. This mold can be difficult or impossible to   dried and contaminated materials removed. HEPA
remove completely.                                      vacuums also are recommended for cleanup of dust
                                                        that may have settled on surfaces outside the
        As a general rule, simply killing the mold,     remediation area. Care must be taken to assure that
for example, with biocide is not enough. The mold       the filter is properly seated in the vacuum so that all the
must be removed, since the chemicals and proteins,      air passes through the filter. When changing the
which can cause a reaction in humans, are present       vacuum filter, remediators should wear respirators,
even in dead mold.                                      appropriate personal protective clothing, gloves, and
eye protection to prevent exposure to any captured             detergents that contain ammonia because this
mold and other contaminants. The filter and contents           may produce highly toxic vapors and create a
of the HEPA vacuum must be disposed of in                      hazard to workers.
impermeable bags or containers in such a way as to
prevent release of the debris.                                         Some biocides are considered pesticides,
                                                               and some states require that only registered
Disposal of Damaged Materials                                  pesticide applicators apply these products in
                                                               schools, commercial buildings, and homes. Make
         Building materials and furnishings                    sure anyone applying a biocide is properly licensed
contaminated with mold growth that are not                     where required.
salvageable should be placed in sealed
impermeable bags or closed containers while in the                     Fungicides are commonly applied to
remediation area. These materials can usually be               outdoor plants, soil, and grains as a powder or
discarded as ordinary construction waste. It is                spray. Examples of fungicides include
important to package mold-contaminated materials               hexachlorobenzene, organomercurials,
in this fashion to minimize the dispersion of mold             pentachlorophenol, phthalimides, and
spores. Large items with heavy mold growth                     dithiocarbamates.
should be covered with polyethylene sheeting and
sealed with duct tape before being removed from                        Do not use fungicides developed for outdoor
the remediation area. Some jobs may require the                use in any indoor application, as they can be extremely
use of dust-tight chutes to move large quantities of           toxic to animals and humans in an enclosed
debris to a dumpster strategically placed outside a            environment.
window in the remediation area.
                                                                       When you use biocides as a disinfectant or
Use of Biocides                                                a pesticide, or as a fungicide, you should use
                                                               appropriate PPE, including respirators. Always,
         The use of a biocide, such as chlorine                read and follow product label precautions. It is a
bleach, is not recommended as a routine practice               violation of Federal (EPA) law to use a biocide in
during mold remediation, although there may be                 any manner inconsistent with its label direction.
instances where professional judgment may
indicate its use (for example, when immune-
compromised individuals are present). In most                  Mold Remediation Guidelines
cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area,
as a background level of mold spores comparable to                      This section presents remediation guidelines
the level in outside air will persist. However, the            for building materials that have or are likely to have
spores in the ambient air will not cause further               mold growth. The guidelines are designed to protect
problems if the moisture level in the building has been        the health of cleanup personnel and other workers
corrected.                                                     during remediation. These guidelines are based on the
                                                               size of the area impacted by mold contamination.
         Biocides are toxic to animals and humans, as          Please note that these are guidelines; some
well as to mold. If you choose to use disinfectants or         professionals may prefer other remediation methods,
biocides, always ventilate the area, using outside air if      and certain circumstances may require different
possible, and exhaust the air to the outdoors. When            approaches or variations on the approaches described
using fans, take care not to extend the zone of                below. If possible, remediation activities should be
contamination by distributing mold spores to a                 scheduled during off-hours when building occupants
previously unaffected area. Never mix chlorine                 are less likely to be affected.
bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or
        Although the level of personal protection            •   Containment of the work area is not
suggested in these guidelines is based on the total              necessary. Dust suppression methods, such
surface area contaminated and the potential for                  as misting (not soaking) surfaces prior to
remediator or occupant exposure, professional                    remediation, are recommended.
judgment always should play a part in remediation
decisions. These remediation guidelines are based            •   Contaminated materials that cannot be
on the size of the affected area to make it easier for           cleaned should be removed from the
remediators to select appropriate techniques, not                building in a sealed impermeable plastic
on the basis of research showing there is a specific             bag. These materials may be disposed of
method appropriate at a certain number of square                 as ordinary waste.
feet. The guidelines have been designed to help
construct a remediation plan. The remediation                •   The work area and areas used by
manager should rely on professional judgment and                 remediation workers for egress should be
experience to adapt the guidelines to particular                 cleaned with a damp cloth or mop and a
situations. When in doubt, caution is advised.                   detergent solution.
Consult an experienced mold remediator for more
information.                                                 •   All areas should be left dry and visibly free
                                                                 from contamination and debris.
Level I: Small Isolated Areas (10 sq. ft or less) -
e.g., ceiling tiles, small areas on walls.               Level II: Mid-Sized Isolated Areas (10-30 sq.
                                                         ft.) – e.g., individual wallboard panels.
   •   Remediation can be conducted by the
       regular building maintenance staff as long            •   Remediation can be conducted by the
       as they are trained on proper clean-up                    regular building maintenance staff. Such
       methods, personal protection, and potential               persons should receive training on proper
       health hazards. This training can be                      clean-up methods, personal protection, and
       performed as part of a program to comply                  potential health hazards. This training can
       with the requirements of the OSHA Hazard                  be performed as part of a program to
       Communication Standard (29 CFR                            comply with the requirements of the OSHA
       1910.1200).                                               Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR
   •   Respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable             1910.1200).
       respirator) is recommended. Respirators must
       be used in accordance with the OSHA                   •   Respiratory protection (e.g., N-95 disposable
       respiratory protection standard (29 CFR                   respirator) is recommended. Respirators must
       1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should               be used in accordance with the OSHA
       be worn.                                                  respiratory protection standard (29 CFR
                                                                 1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should
   •   The work area should be unoccupied.                       be worn.
       Removing people from spaces adjacent to
       the work area is not necessary, but is                •   The work area should be unoccupied.
       recommended for infants (less than 12 months              Removing people from spaces adjacent to
       old), persons recovering from recent surgery,             the work area is not necessary, but is
       immune-suppressed people, or people with                  recommended for infants (less than 12 months
       chronic inflammatory lung diseases (e.g.,                 old), persons recovering from recent surgery,
       asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and                 immune-suppressed people, or people with
       severe allergies).                                        chronic inflammatory lung diseases (e.g.,

        asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and                     1910.134). Gloves and eye protection should
        severe allergies).                                            be worn.

    •   Surfaces in the work area that could                      •   Surfaces in the work area and areas directly
        become contaminated should be covered                         adjacent that could become decontaminated
        with a secured plastic sheet(s) before                        should be covered with a secured plastic
        remediation to contain dust/debris and                        sheet(s) before remediation to contain dust/
        prevent further contamination.                                debris and prevent further contamination.

    •   Dust suppression methods, such as misting                 •   Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work
        (not soaking) surfaces prior to                               area and areas directly adjacent with plastic
        remediation, are recommended.                                 sheeting.

    •   Contaminated materials that cannot be                     •   The work area and areas directly adjacent
        cleaned should be removed from the                            should be unoccupied. Removing people
        building in a sealed impermeable plastic                      from spaces near the work area is
        bag. These materials may be disposed of                       recommended for infants, persons having
        as ordinary waste.                                            undergone recent surgery, immune-
                                                                      suppressed people, or people with chronic
    •   The work area and areas used by                               inflammatory lung diseases. (e.g., asthma,
        remediation workers for egress should be                      hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and severe
        HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a damp                         allergies).
        cloth or mop and a detergent solution.
                                                                  •   Dust suppression methods, such as misting
    •   All areas should be left dry and visibly free                 (not soaking) surfaces prior to mediation,
        from contamination and debris.                                are recommended.

                                                                  •   Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned
Level III: Large Isolated Areas (30 –100 square                       should be removed from the building in sealed
feet) – e.g., several wallboard panels.                               impermeable plastic bags. These materials
                                                                      may be disposed of as ordinary waste.
Industrial hygienists or other environmental health and
safety professionals with experience performing                   •    The work area and surrounding areas should
microbial investigations and/or mold remediation                      be HEPA vacuumed and cleaned with a
should be consulted prior to remediation activities to                damp cloth or mop and a detergent
provide oversight for the project.                                    solution.

The following procedures may be implemented                       •    All areas should be left dry and visibly free
depending upon the severity of the contamination:                     from contamination and debris.

    •   It is recommended that personnel be trained in        Note: If abatement procedures are expected to
        the handling of hazardous materials and               generate a lot of dust (e.g., abrasive cleaning of
        equipped with respiratory protection (e.g.,           contaminated surfaces, demolition of plaster walls) or
        N-95 disposable respirator). Respirators              the visible concentration of the mold is heavy (blanket
        must be used in accordance with the OSHA              coverage as opposed to patchy), it is recommended
        respiratory protection standard (29 CFR               that the remediation procedures for Level IV be
Level IV: Extensive Contamination (greater than               •   Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned
100 contiguous square feet in an area).                           should be removed from the building in sealed
                                                                  impermeable plastic bags. The outside of the
Industrial hygienists or other environmental health               bags should be cleaned with a damp cloth and
and safety professionals with experience                          a detergent solution or HEPA vacuumed in the
performing microbial investigations and/or mold                   decontamination chamber prior to their
remediation should be consulted prior to                          transport to uncontaminated areas of the
remediation activities to provide oversight for the               building. These materials may be disposed
project.                                                          of as ordinary waste.

The following procedures may be implemented                   •   The contained area and decontamination
depending upon the severity of the contamination:                 room should be HEPA vacuumed and
                                                                  cleaned with a damp cloth or mopped with
   •   Personnel trained in the handling of                       a detergent solution and be visibly clean
       hazardous materials and equipped with:                     prior to the removal of isolation barriers.
          o Full facepiece respirators with
              HEPA cartridges;                            Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
          o Disposable protective clothing
              covering entire body including both                 Any remediation work that disturbs mold and
              head and shoes; and                         causes mold spores to become airborne increases the
          o Gloves.                                       degree of respiratory exposure. Actions that tend to
                                                          disperse mold include: breaking apart moldy porous
   •   Containment of the affected area:                  materials such as wallboard; destructive invasive
          o Complete isolation of work area               procedures to examine or remediate mold growth in a
              from occupied spaces using plastic          wall cavity; removal of contaminated wallpaper by
              sheeting sealed with duct tape              stripping or peeling; using fans to dry items or ventilate
              (including ventilation ducts/grills,        areas.
              fixtures, and other openings);
          o The use of an exhaust fan with a                      The primary function of personal protective
              HEPA filter to generate negative            equipment is to prevent the inhalation and ingestion of
              pressurization; and                         mold and mold spores and to avoid mold contact with
          o Airlocks and decontamination                  the skin or eyes. The following sections discuss the
              room.                                       various types of PPE that may be used during
                                                          remediation activities.
   •   If contaminant practices effectively prevent
                                                          Skin and Eye Protection
       mold from migrating from affected areas, it
       may not be necessary to remove people
                                                                   Gloves protect the skin from contact with
       from surrounding work areas. However,
                                                          mold, as well as from potentially irritating cleaning
       removal is still recommended for infants,
                                                          solutions. Long gloves that extend to the middle
       persons having undergone recent surgery,
                                                          of the forearm are recommended. The glove material
       immune- suppressed people, or people with          should be selected based on the type of substance/
       chronic inflammatory lung diseases. (e.g.,         chemical being handled. If you are using a biocide
       asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and          such as chlorine bleach, or a strong cleaning solution,
       severe allergies).                                 you should select gloves made from natural rubber,
                                                          neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC. If you are

using a mild detergent or plain water, ordinary          contaminants to street clothing, and to eliminate skin
household rubber gloves may be used.                     contact with mold and potential chemical exposures.

       To protect your eyes, use properly fitted                 Disposable PPE should be discarded after it
goggles or a full facepiece respirator. Goggles          is used. They should be placed into impermeable
must be designed to prevent the entry of dust and        bags, and usually can be discarded as ordinary
small particles. Safety glasses or goggles with          construction waste. Appropriate precautions and
open vent holes are not appropriate in mold              protective equipment for biocide applicators
remediation.                                             should be selected based on the product
                                                         manufacturer’s warnings and recommendations
Respiratory Protection                                   (e.g., goggles or face shield, aprons or other
                                                         protective clothing, gloves, and respiratory
         Respirators protect cleanup workers from        protection).
inhaling airborne mold, contaminated dust, and
other particulates that are released during the          Sampling for Mold
remediation process. Either a half mask or full
facepiece air-purifying respirator can be used. A                Is it necessary to sample for mold? In
full facepiece respirator provides both respiratory      most cases, if visible mold growth is present,
and eye protection. Please refer to the discussion       sampling is unnecessary. Air sampling for mold
of the different levels of remediation to ascertain      may not be part of a routine assessment because
the type of respiratory protection recommended.          decisions about appropriate remediation strategies
Respirators used to provide protection from mold         often can be made on the basis of a visual inspection.
and mold spores must be certified by the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health                      Your first step should be to inspect for any
(NIOSH). More protective respirators may have to         evidence of water damage and visible mold growth.
be selected and used if toxic contaminants such as       Testing for mold is expensive, and there should be a
asbestos or lead are encountered during remediation.     clear reason for doing so. In many cases, it is not
         As specified by OSHA in 29 CFR 1910.134         economically practical or useful to test for mold
individuals who use respirators must be properly         growth on surfaces or for airborne spores in the
trained, have medical clearance, and be properly fit     building. In addition, there are no standards for
tested before they begin using a respirator. In          “acceptable” levels of mold in buildings, and the lack
addition, use of respirators requires the employer to    of a definitive correlation between exposure levels and
develop and implement a written respiratory              health effects makes interpreting the data difficult, if
protection program, with worksite-specific procedures    not impossible.
and elements.
                                                                 Testing is usually done to compare the levels
Protective Clothing                                      and types of mold spores found inside the building
                                                         with those found outside of the building or for
       While conducting building inspections and         comparison with another location in the building. In
remediation work, individuals may encounter              addition, air sampling may provide tangible evidence
hazardous biological agents as well as chemical          supporting a hypothesis that investigators have
and physical hazards. Consequently, appropriate          formulated. For example, air sampling may show a
personal protective clothing (i.e., reusable or          higher concentration of the same species of mold when
disposable) is recommended to minimize cross-            the HVAC is operating than when it has been turned
contamination between work areas and clean areas, to     off. This finding may convince the investigators that
prevent the transfer and spread of mold and other        the mold is growing within, and being disseminated by,
                                                         the HVAC system. Conversely, negative results may
persuade investigators to abandon this hypothesis and        (EMLAP)). Accredited laboratories must participate
to consider other sources of mold growth or                  in quarterly proficiency testing (Environmental
dissemination. If you know you have a mold problem,          Microbiology Proficiency Analytical Testing Program
it is more important to spend time and resources             (EMPAT)).
removing the mold and solving the moisture problem
that causes the moldy conditions than to undertake           Remediation Equipment
extensive testing for the type and quantity of mold.
                                                                There are various types of equipment useful in
         If you are in doubt about sampling, consult         mold assessment and remediation. Some of the
an industrial hygienist or other environmental               more common items include:
health or safety professional with experience in
microbial investigations to help you decide if               Moisture Meters
sampling for mold is necessary or useful, and to
identify persons who can conduct any necessary                       Moisture meters measure/monitor moisture
sampling. Due to the wide difference in individual           levels in building materials, and may be helpful for
susceptibility to mold contamination, sampling               measuring the moisture content in a variety of
results sampling may have limited application.               building materials following water damage. They also
However, sampling results can be used as a guide             can be used to monitor the progress of drying
to determine the extent of an infestation and the            damaged materials. These direct reading devices
effectiveness of the cleanup. Their interpretation is        have a thin probe that is inserted into the material
best left to the industrial hygienist or other               to be tested or pressed directly against the surface
environmental health or safety professional.                 of the material. Moisture meters can be used on
                                                             materials such as carpet, wallboard, wood, brick, and
        Sampling for mold should be conducted by             concrete.
professionals with specific experience in designing
mold-sampling protocols, sampling methods for                Humidity Gauges or Meters
microbial contaminants, and interpretation of results.
For additional information on air sampling, refer to the            Humidity meters can be used to monitor
American Conference of Governmental Industrial               indoor humidity. Inexpensive (less than $50)
Hygienists’ document, “Bioaerosols: Assessment and           models that monitor both temperature and
Control.” In addition, sampling and analysis should          humidity are available.
follow any other methods recommended by either
OSHA, NIOSH, EPA, the American Industrial                    Humidistat
Hygiene Association, or other recognized professional
guidelines. Types of samples can include: air samples,               A humidistat is a control device that can be
surface samples, bulk samples, and water samples             connected to an HVAC system and adjusted so that
from condensate drain pans or cooling towers.                if the humidity level rises above a set point, the
                                                             HVAC system will automatically turn on and reduce
         Microscopic identification of the spores/           the humidity below the established point.
colonies requires considerable expertise. These
services are not routinely available from                    Boroscope
commercial laboratories. Documented quality control
in the laboratories used for analysis of the bulk,                   A boroscope is a hand-held tool that allows
surface, and other air samples is necessary. The             users to see potential mold problems inside walls,
American Industrial Hygiene Association offers               ceiling plenums, crawl spaces, and other tight
accreditation to microbial laboratories (Environmental       areas. It consists of a video camera on the end of a
Microbiology Laboratory Accreditation Program
flexible “snake.” No major drilling or cutting of dry        Conclusion
wall is required.
                                                                      After correcting water or moisture infiltration,
HVAC System Filter                                           the prompt removal of contaminated material and
                                                             structural repair is the primary response to mold
         High-quality filters must be used in a              contamination in buildings. In all situations, the
HVAC system during remediation because                       underlying cause of water accumulation must be
conventional HVAC filters are typically not                  rectified or the mold growth will reoccur. Emphasis
effective in filtering particles the size of mold            should be placed on preventing contamination through
spores. Consult an engineer for the appropriate              proper building and HVAC system maintenance and
filter efficiency for your specific HVAC system,             prompt repair of water damaged areas.
and consider upgrading your filters if necessary. A
filter with a minimum efficiency of 50 to 60% or a                    Effective communication with building
rating of MERV 8, as determined by Test Standard             occupants is an essential component of all large-
52.2 of the American Society of Heating,                     scale remediation efforts. The building owner,
Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers,                management, and/or employer should notify
may be appropriate.                                          occupants in the affected area(s) of the presence of
                                                             mold. Notification should include a description of
         Remember to change filters as appropriate,          the remedial measures to be taken and a timetable for
especially following any remediation activities.             completion. Group meetings held before and after
Remove filters in a manner that minimizes the                remediation with full disclosure of plans and results can
reentry of mold and other toxic substances into the          be an effective communication mechanism. Individuals
workplace. Under certain circumstances, it may be            with persistent health problems that appear to be
necessary to wear appropriate PPE while performing           related to mold exposure should see their physicians
this task.                                                   for a referral to practitioners who are trained in
                                                             occupational/environmental medicine or related
How Do You Know When You Have Finished                       specialties and are knowledgeable about these types
     Remediation/Cleanup?                                    of exposures.

•   You must have identified and completely corrected
    the source of the water or moisture problem.

•   Mold removal should be complete. Visible mold,
    mold-damaged materials, and moldy odors should
    no longer be present.

•   Sampling, if conducted, should show that the level
    and types of mold and mold spores inside the
    building are similar to those found outside.

•   You should revisit the site(s) after remediation, and
    it should show no signs of moldy or musty odors,
    water damage, or mold growth.

References                                               conditions in the workplace that can cause injuries and
                                                         illnesses, including mold problems.
American Conference of Governmental Industrial
Hygienists 1999. Bioaerosols                          The following list of resources includes
Assessment and Control                                information developed and maintained by public
http://www.acgih.org                                  and private organizations. However, OSHA does
                                                      not control this information and cannot guarantee the
National Apartment Association                        accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of
http:///www.naahq.org                                 this outside information. Further, the inclusion of these
                                                      resources is not intended to endorse any views
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health expressed, or products or services offered, by the
(NIOSH)                                               author of the reference or the organization operating
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh                              the service identified by the reference.

National Multi-Housing Council                           An Office Building Occupant’s Guide to IAQ
http://www.nmhc.org                                      http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/occupgd.html

The Building Owners and Managers Association Biological Contaminants
International (BOMA)                                  http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/bio1.html
                                                      Building Air Quality Action Plan
New York City Department of Health & Mental           (For Commercial Buildings)
Hygiene Bureau of Environmental & Occupational http://www.epa.gov/iaq/largebldgs/
Disease Epidemiology 2002. Guidelines on                      actionpl.html
Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in
Indoor Environments                                   Floods / Flooding
http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/doh/html/epi             http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/flood.html
                                                      Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Home Page
United States Environmental Protection Agency,        http://www.epa.gov/iaq
Office of Air and Radiation, Indoor Environments
Division 2001. Mold Remediation in Schools and IAQ in Large Buildings/Commercial Buildings
Commercial Buildings. EPA 402-K-01-001                http://www.epa.gov/iaq/largebldgs/
moldremediation.pdf                                   IAQ in Schools
Mold Resources List
                                                      Mold Resources
Business owners who are concerned about the cost http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldresources.html
of professional help can contact the OSHA
Consultation Project Office in their state for free   Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial
consultation service. Priority is given to businesses Buildings
with fewer than 250 employees at a worksite, with     http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/mold_remediation.html
further consideration given to the severity of the
worksite problem. The Consultation Program can
help the employer evaluate and prevent hazardous

U.S. EPA IAQ Information Clearinghouse               Association of Occupational and Environmental
(IAQINFO)                                            Clinics (AOEC)
Phone: (800)438-4318 or (703)356-4020                (202)347-4976
Fax: (703)356-5386                                   http://www.aoec.org
Email: iaqinfo@aol.com                               Referrals to clinics with physicians, who have
Indoor air related documents, answers to Indoor      experience with environmental exposures,
Air Quality (IAQ) questions, maintains listing of    include exposure to mold; maintains a database of
State IAQ contacts, and regional EPA Contacts.       occupational and environmental cases.

Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)       Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration
(703)575-4477                                        (ASCR)
http://acca.org                                      (800)272-7012 or (410)729-3603
Information on indoor comfort products and           http://www.ascr.org/institutes
services.                                            Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Institute,
                                                     Mechancial Systems Hygiene Institute, National
American College of Occupational and                 Institute of Disaster Restoration, National Institute Rug
Environmental Medicine (ACOEM)                       Cleaning, Water Loss Institute referrals to
(847)818-1800                                        professionals.
Referrals to physicians who have experience with     American Academy of Allergy, Asthma &
environmental exposures.                             Immunology (AAAAI)
American Conference of Governmental Industrial       http:// www.aaaai.org
Hygienists, Inc. (ACGIH)                             Physician referral directory, information on allergies
(513)742-2020                                        and asthma.
Occupational and environmental health and safety     Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American (AAFA)
information.                                         (800) 7ASTHMA (800)727-8462)
American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)       Information on allergies and asthma.
http://www.aiha.org                                  American Lung Association (ALA)
Information on industrial hygiene and indoor air     (800) LUNGUSA (800)586-4872)
quality issues including mold hazards and legal      http:// www.lungusa.org
issues.                                              Information on allergies and asthma.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and       Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of
Air Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE)            Asthmatics (AANMA) (800)878-4403 or
(800)527-4723                                        (703)641-9595)
http://www.ashrae.org                                http://www.aanma.org
Information on engineering issues and indoor air     Information on allergies and asthma.
                                                     National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
                                                     Information on allergies and asthma.
National Jewish Medical and Research Center               International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA)
(800) 222LUNG (800)222-5864)                              (800)225-4772
http://www.njc.org                                        http://www.issa.com
Information on allergies and asthma.                      Education and training on cleaning and
Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)
(800) 882-8846                                            MidAtlantic Environmental Hygiene Resource
http://www.carpet-rug.com                                 Center (MEHRC)
Carpet maintenance, restoration guidelines for            (215)387-4096
water-damaged carpet, other carpet-related issues.        http://www.mehrc.org
                                                          Indoor environmental quality training center giving
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)          courses in building moisture and
(800)311-3435                                             biocontamination, and managing and operating
http://www.cdc.gov                                        facilities for good IAQ. Extensive courses given
Information on healthrelated topics including asthma      in IAQ.
molds in the environment, and occupational health.
CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for          National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA)
protecting the health and safety of the American          (202)737-2926
people at home and abroad. It serves as the national      http://www.nadca.com
focus for developing and applying disease prevention      Duct cleaning information.
and control, environmental health, and health
promotion and education activities.                       National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS)
Floods/Flooding                                           http://www.nibs.org
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)                Information on building regulations, science, and
(800)480-2520                                             technology.
Publications on floods, flood proofing, etc.              National Institute for Occupational Safety and
                                                          Health (NIOSH)
University of Minnesota, Department of                    (800) 35NIOSH (800)356-4674)
Environmental Health and Safety                           http://www.cdc.gov/niosh
(612)626-5804                                             Health and safety information with a workplace
http://www.dehs.umn.edu/iag/flood.html                    orientation.
Managing water infiltration into buildings.
                                                          National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC)
Indoor Environmental Remediation Board (IERB)             (800)858-7378
(215)387-4097                                             http://npic.orst.edu/
http://www.ierb.org                                       Information on pesticides/antimicrobial chemicals,
Information on best practices in building remediation.    including safety and disposal information.

Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration         New York Department of Health,
Certification (IICRC)                                     Bureau of Environmental and Occupational
(360)693-5675                                             Disease Epidemiology, Guidelines on Assessment
http://www.iicrc.org                                      and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments.
Information on and standards for the inspection,          (212)788-4290
cleaning, and restoration industry.                       http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/doh/html/epi/
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(800)321-OSHA (800)321-6742)
Information on worker safety and health,
compliance assistance, laws and regulations,
cooeprative programs, state programs, statistics,
and newsroom.

Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’
National Association (SMACNA)
Technical information on topics such as air
conditioning and air ducts.


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