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Photograph of mold growing in a school classroom.
School mold growing in a classroom after the classroom teacher and the  janitor tried to scrub off prior mold growth and then repainted the wall. Photo taken by the classroom teacher.

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Visit the School Mold website.
One-Third of US Public Schools Have Mold

One-third of US public elementary and high schools have serious bad indoor air quality problems such as mold infestation from roof leaks, according to Dr. Gupta in his CNN-TV program "CNN Presents" on June 23, 2012.  Dr. Gupta's program broadcasted several video clips of serious mold growth problems in public schools in several U.S. states.

Mold in School Questions

       Q. I recently began my employment at a school system. Within the week that I began to work, I became sick, which I felt was a case a pneumonia. I just thought it was from the cold weather. After a while, I noticed that most of the students in my classroom were sick, and the other teacher that I work with. I still have a cough that will not go away and have had some allergies and respiratory problems, such as not feeling that my body is getting enough air. The other teacher is experiencing the same respiratory infection and she is pregnant. We found 2 large black molds in our classroom on the wall yesterday. We also noticed that some of the wood that has been used as a paneling is bowed and is rotting. There also seems to be a light green type mold growing on the inside near the paneling. We had moved our classroom furniture around recently and had not noticed it before. We informed our principal, who in turn, notified the superintendent. Someone from the maintenance dept. came in today to tell us that they would repair the problem, but did not say when. Also, other classrooms also have the same problem in our building. This building was built in about the 1930s, but not exactly sure. My questions are: What should we expect the school district to do? Should they close our school until all of this has been repaired? We do not want a band-aid put on this problem. We want his problem dealt with.
A. Your, staff associate’s, and student mold health symptoms plus the visible evidence of wood rot and mold growth make it mandatory that the school do immediate, professional mold inspection, mold testing, and mold remediation. But don’t rely on the school to do adequate mold inspection, testing, and remediation. Take close up photographs of the mold growth as evidence of the mold problem. To learn the mold truth about your classroom, you should also use our do it yourself mold test kits to mold test the air of the classroom and of the outward air flow from the heating/cooling duct register in the classroom, as well as an outdoor mold control test. Do-it-yourself mold test instructions are provided at mold test kit.  Mold test kits are available at a large hardware or home improvement store. Then, please send the collected mold samples, including samples of the visible mold growth in your classroom, to  a mold analysis lab for mold species identification and quantification. If there are more mold colonies growing in the indoor mold samples than the outdoor mold control sample, or if there are mold species growing indoors that are not in the outdoor test, that is prima facie evidence that there is a mold problem. Then, based on the mold lab reports, you should send a certified letter to your school principal, school superintendent, each school board member, your local city/county health department, and your state department of education to demand that the entire school be professionally mold inspected, tested, and remediated. Many schools, like many employers, are not willing to inspect and test for mold because they don't want to spend money to protect staff and student health. Unresolved workplace mold infestation is usually considered to be a safety violation of most state's occupational safety and health administration laws and regulations. Learn what your school should do about safe and effective mold remediation. Of course, if there are elevated levels of airborne mold spores in a particular classroom or other school area, that classroom or school should not be occupied until the area has been professionally mold remediated and it tests mold-safe after clearance testing by a Certified Mold Inspector.

        Q. Presently, I am working in a school office that has had three of its walls removed due to mold over the summer.  I didn't realize how badly it was bothering me until I went to the doctor and he diagnosed me with environmental asthma.  Since then, my school brought out a professional who said my office was high in Penicillium mold but well within the normal range.  Is there such a thing as a normal range?
        A. There is no such thing as normal range for any indoor mold because of huge differences building to building and because people differ substantially in their mold sensitivity to mold exposure. Penicillium is the third most dangerous indoor mold. The remaining mold levels may be high enough in your office or elsewhere in the school to be putting your health at risk. Learn all about available medical mold diagnostic and treatment procedures in the in depth ebook Mold Health Guide, available to you from our online mold products catalog. It is likely that the school mold remediation was not effective in eliminating mold problems in your office or elsewhere in the school. Airborne mold spores can travel in currents from any mold infestation location in the school to cross contaminate the entire school building

         Q. If a school has a "book drive" (donation of used books), what 'mold' concerns should be made part of the process of 'intaking' of used material? Is there a detection method?  If mold if detected, is there a method of its elimination?  Should any collection site be outside of the 'school proper?' If you can point me in any direction, I would greatly appreciate your assistance.
A. Your questions are certainly very important to mold school health. Yes, it would be good not to bring potentially moldy books into the school building itself. There should be an outdoor collection point [covered roof of course!]. The books should pass the mold smell/mold visible test. If a book smells moldy or it has easily visible water and/or mold damage, the book should be excluded from the collection drive. Testing of each book would take lots of mold test kits and mold lab analysis money and about a week's time [for mold growth in mold culture plates over a 7 day time period prior to analysis by a trained mold microbiologist].

        Q. I work as a consultant for a school district. We have a Library located in a building build in 1992, which has had a leaky roof ever since it opened. I recently was called in due to the Librarian with "illness" associated with being in the room. We immediately fixed the roof, removed the carpet and re-tiled, discarded any water damaged materials or books. The fresh air intake was working, and the air-sampling (spore trap) samples showed less types/amounts inside than out. (other bulk tests were performed also). Later that month the Librarian found more water damaged discolored books and still complained of shortness of breath, dizziness, blacking out, and ear infections. We removed each book individually HEPA vacuumed it and wiped it down with a mild bleach & water solution. We retested and the tests results were considered acceptable. Some yeast were found in the dust sample collected though. She is now worse than ever????? Any advice???
         A.  Here are some suggestions: 1. Have the workplace mold inspected and tested by a Certified Mold Inspector to be absolutely sure [second opinion] that there is no remaining mold infestation problem. 2. Have the mold inspector also inspect and test the home/apartment of the employee for possible mold problems. Over 75% of all homes and apartments have a mold problem, a problem unknown to most residential owners and occupants. 3. Get the best possible medical help for the employee, especially by a pulmonary physician [lung doctor] and neurologist. Once mold begins growing in the employee's body, medical intervention is often required for getting rid of the internal mold growth---despite the fact that you may have done a wonderful job of mold remediation in your workplace.

I'm looking for your help, please. I am working in a school that had a HUGE mold problem this past summer. The administration says that the custodial staff "took care of it" and that it is no longer an issue. I myself, as well as many others in the building, am having respiratory problems that I believe are being caused by the mold. Isn't this an unsafe working/learning situation? Can you help, or guide me to someone that can?
A.  Your school's custodial staff probably does not have the mold training, expertise, and experience to test for and remove mold problems in your school building. Because building occupants are experiencing respiratory problems, you know that the mold work done by the custodians was inadequate and ineffective. You can document the existence of mold problems in your classroom, heating/cooling system, and elsewhere in the building by buying and using  do it yourself mold test kits from a large hardware or home improvement store with our expert mold laboratory mold identification.  Once you have received the mold test lab results that document a problem, in comparison to an outdoor mold control test, you should send a copy of the mold lab results by certified mail [demanding mold inspection, mold testing, and mold remediation be done by trained mold professionals] to your school principal, superintendent, each member of the school board, state department of education, local health department, county health department, state health department, your state Occupational Health and Safety Administration [OHSA, and to local news media.

School mold leads to recall effort
June 11, 2004


A group of parents angry over the school district's handling of mold contamination at two schools are campaigning to recall two board members they say ignored the problem.

Washington Township Parents Who Care began the process this week, collecting 930 signatures on a petition to recall Eileen Abbott and Carol Saghirian.

The group has 160 days to get the signatures of 25 percent of township voters registered in the last general election, or roughly 7,400 people.

However, the group may not have the legal standing to carry out the recall process.

By law, a recall process cannot be started before the 50th day of the first year of an elected official's term. Abbott and Saghirian were sworn in May 6. Abbott is a former board president who won re-election in April. Saghirian, who is filling an unexpired seat, previously served on the board from 1998 to 2003.

The law also prohibits committees from trying to recall more than one officeholder at a time. Still, the group is pressing forward to make its point.

"I only want a safe school for my son to attend," said Bonnie Tuttle, whose son Jordan, 12, has been home tutored since March. Jordan's asthma and allergies were aggravated by the mold at Orchard Valley Middle School, Tuttle said.

Dozens of students and staff members at Orchard Valley and Chestnut Ridge middle schools have complained of health problems attributed to mold. Since March, 28 students have been moved from the middle schools to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School so they wouldn't have to be on home instruction, said Superintendent Thomas Flemming.

In August, the district's engineering firm determined that classroom ventilators were not properly extracting humidity from the air, creating a breeding ground for mold.

An examination of the ventilators found mold inside their insulation and in the heating and air conditioning systems' ductwork. The mold was primarily cladosporium, the most common type of mold. Tests also found low levels of aspergillus mold, which can cause nasal and lung diseases in people with impaired immune systems.

In a letter notifying the district of the recall, the parents' group contends Abbott and Saghirian were among board members "who have demonstrated their apathetic and irresponsible views on these issues for years."

After a special board meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss the recall, Abbott said she's always done her job as a board member.

"We brought professionals in, they told us what to do, we did it," she said.

Industrial-sized dehumidifiers have been placed inside classrooms at the two schools and the humidity level is being monitored, Flemming said.

Over the summer, the two buildings, along with their heating and cooling systems, will be sanitized. The district is still considering whether to replace the systems, which could cost as much as $5 million.

Dr. Howard M. Sandler, a consultant hired by the district, told the board Thursday that the mold levels at the two schools are not a health hazard.

Dampness caused by the high humidity in the buildings is contributing to the problems suffered by those with allergies and asthma, he said.

"There's no long-term threat to the students or faculty at these schools," he said.

For mold inspection, building mold inspection, mold inspector directory, mold remediation, and mold prevention for your real estate property anywhere in USA, Canada, Asia, Europe, or worldwide, please contact mold consultants Phillip Fry and Divine Fry by email or by phone Phillip Toll-Free 1-866-300-1616 USA and Canada.

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