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Preventing mold: ASSE offers advice

September 24, 2004
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As the clean-up continues following the recent devastating hurricanes, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) offers several tips on how to prevent mold growth in commercial buildings and homes, controlling mold and minimizing adverse effects.

ASSE’s position statement "Regarding Mold in the Indoor Working Environment" contains several mold remediation tips. Also, ASSE members are developing a canvass standard initiative, Z690, aimed at protecting workers when dealing with mold remediation and to establish minimum requirements and recommended procedures to be implemented by employers to minimize employee exposure to mold. The standard will not, however, establish an exposure level or action level for identification purposes or trigger remediation activities.

ASSE suggests taking the following steps to control mold and help minimize any adverse effects:

  • Dry water-damaged areas and items as soon as possible within 24 hours, but not later than 48 hours after the damage occurs.
  • Replace porous materials such as ceiling tiles and carpet as they cannot be cleaned effectively.
  • Clean non-porous surfaces like tile and metal with detergent and water, and dry them completely.

To lessen the chances of a mold colony growing in your building, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that you:

  • Keep the humidity level below 50 percent.
  • Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier during humid months.
  • Have and use adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans, in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before applying them.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
  • Do not put carpeting in bathrooms or basements.

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