Studies have shown that most Americans spend more than 90% of their time indoors – an environment that’s significantly more contaminated than the outdoors. Maintaining a pollutant-free indoor environment can help raise productivity, reduce potential legal liability for building owners and managers, and improve the health of workers.
Fungi, a biological contaminant that flourishes in moist environments, can trigger a wide variety of health problems and complaints. The best way to curb fungal growth is to monitor and avoid water leaks, moisture migration through masonry walls, and condensation. (For example, high humidity levels might be due to running a chilled water air conditioning system at too high a temperature).
To help manage the moisture and water infiltration that breeds fungi, experts recommend following these rules of thumb:
- If the fungal growth is on a hard surface, scrape it off as soon as possible.
- If the fungus is growing on a porous surface – such as plasterboard, carpet, or ceilings –have it removed carefully to prevent the uncontrolled release of fungal spores. (Removing or disturbing materials contaminated by fungi can increase airborne fungal levels by a factor of 10).
- Dispose of fungal-contaminated materials under controlled conditions to prevent contamination of clean areas and protect building occupants and the area from elevated exposures.
- Dry any porous materials where water infiltration has occurred within 24 hours.
Increasing concern by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state health departments about exposure to fungal spores reinforces the need for keeping the spread of fungi under control.
We’d be happy to offer our advice on helping keep your building fungus-free – and its occupants healthy.