In the past several years there have reports in the media about molds that cause life threatening illnesses. Thankfully to date we have not had toxic black mold in any of our facilities. However, molds are everywhere and can easily be brought inside. Once inside molds easily grow and spread if they have adequate moisture and food (wood, fabric, drywall, carpet, fabric, etc. can all serve as a food source). We are continually working with students to prevent and address any moisture issues. Below are some of the methods the University has in place for preventing mold, as well as ways students can partner with us to prevent mold. The final section addresses what students should do if they suspect that they do have mold in their room or apartment.
Routine Preventative Measures
When the weather is most ideal for mold to grow, our Facilities Department hires a certified indoor air quality professional to conduct an indoor air quality test. The results are gathered by taking an air sample in each building and comparing it to the air quality outside. Almost always the indoor air is Good, Very Good or Excellent but on the rare occasion when the air quality receives a Marginal or lower rating, remediation is done in the building and the HVAC system. Additional dehumidifiers have been added in some buildings because of this testing.
How to Prevent Mold
- Report any moisture problems by submitting a Maintenance Work Order under Student Forms on FalonLink or by calling ext. 6011 or 691-6011 (leaking toilets, dripping faucets, wet spots on ceiling, walls or carpets, moisture or dripping anywhere).
- Keep windows closed, especially when the air conditioning is running.
- Keep your space clean, especially apartment bathrooms, in order to keep any moisture or mold food sources clean and dry. If your shower/bathroom is shared by 3 or more people you may need to clean every couple days to prevent mold.
- If there is a fan in your bathroom, run it while you are showering and for 15 minutes after the last shower is taken.
What if I see Mold?
- Check for any moisture or leaks in the area.
- If mold has formed because the area has not been cleaned, please clean with hot soapy water and regularly clean that area.
- If your shower/bathroom is shared by 3 or more people you may need to clean every couple of days to prevent mold.
- If routine cleaning does not keep the mold away, submit a Maintenance Work order under Student Forms on FlaconLink or call 6011 or 691-6011.
What will be done by the College?
- Campus Events (the custodial staff) will inspect the area and will spray it with an iodine spray called Fast Attack that kills mold. Fast Attack does not remove the spots, but it will kill the mold and stop it from growing.
- A mold remediation policy is in place if a large area of mold is found and needs to be treated by a consulting company. The residents of the rooms will be temporary or permanently relocated while the work is done.
- If excess moisture is occurring, the area will be cleaned and fans and/or dehumidifiers will be put into place to dry the area.
- University staff will continue to check in on the area and will communicate any additional instructions to students.
Tips for Addressing Health Issues or Allergies
If you are experiencing a physical reaction that you haven't encountered before, you should seek medical attention. We recommend that you see an allergist to determine what you are allergic to so that you may receive the appropriate treatment. Unfortunately, we are in one of the allergy capitals of the United States and many have developed allergies even in their adult years after living here for a while. In addition, here are some suggestions for how to deal with the high allergy/high mold seasons while living in Mechanicsburg.
- If you have already been diagnosed with an allergy and have been prescribed medication, please follow your doctor's instructions.
- The pollen count is available each day at www.pollen.com. For the days when the count is high, stay indoors as much as you can.
- Prevent allergens and molds from entering your room by keeping the windows and doors closed.
- Practice good housekeeping and vacuum and dust your room/apartment regularly. You may want to consider purchasing a HEPA filter vacuum if you are extremely sensitive to dust and allergens.
- Keep your bed as clean as possible. Do not place anything on your bed that has been outside, including bags, clothes or friends.
- Another way to minimize allergens in your bed is to shower and wash your hair before going to bed.
- Try to get a good amount of sleep each night. It's not unusual for students to get so busy that they become rundown and are susceptible to sickness.
- If you are following all other precautions and are still experiencing a reaction, consider purchasing a dehumidifier or air purifier for your room/apartment.
Credit and many thanks to Furman University for allowing us to model our mold policy after theirs.