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Canadian Mould Standards: Mould in Workplace buildings, Alert 20: ISSN 1195-5228, Produced by Professional and Specialized Services,
Issued: December 2000. This article describes mould (or in the U.S. mold) exposure standards fodr the Canadian workplace.
Workers and the public may be exposed to mould on water-damaged building materials inside buildings, and during building maintenance and repair operations. The most common types of mould are generally not hazardous to healthy individuals–but some moulds may be hazardous to certain individuals.
People who have asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, other allergies, or have weakened immune systems are more likely to react to mould. The most common symptoms are runny nose, eye irritation, skin rash, cough, congestion and aggravation of asthma. Symptoms usually disappear after mould exposure stops. Most often, there are no known long-term consequences to workplace exposures.
Moulds (fungi) are present everywhere–indoors and outdoors.
Any building may have mould. However, buildings with a history of water leaks, floods, fires and problems with indoor air quality (e.g. poor humidity control, lack of fresh air) should be considered at greater risk of mould growth. Water-damaged drywall, wood materials, jute, wallpaper, and cardboard are prone to fungal growth.
All moulds need water to grow. Mould can grow anywhere there is water damage, high humidity or dampness. Most often moulds are confined to areas near the source of water. When mouldy material becomes damaged or disturbed, mould spores can be released into the air. Exposure occurs if people inhale the spores.
The sustained and/or extensive growth of any visible mould on the interior surfaces of a building is unacceptable. Mould growth on the interior surfaces of buildings is a risk factor for health problems.
Moisture problems (flooding, leaks, water intrusion, condensation, etc.) in buildings are the primary reason for mould growth. These moisture problems should be the focus of assessment and control efforts, followed by clean-up, remediation of contaminated materials, periodic inspections, and preventive and remedial maintenance. The Internet resources below contain detailed information. If mould contamination is extensive, the employer should seek professional assistance from private sector consultants who specialize in mould and mould remediation.
Occupants of buildings contaminated with mould should be advised of the presence of the mould and given information on the health effects of mould.
Employers are required by section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of workers.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act places a responsibility on constructors (section 23), employers (section 25), and supervisors (section 27) to ensure the health and safety of workers. This includes protecting workers from mould in workplace buildings. Various sections of the Industrial, Construction, Mining or Health Care regulations may also apply to maintenance and remediation activities.
Resources on corrective measures, mould remediation and worker training are listed below.
Facts About Stachybotrys Chartarum and Other Molds. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health. March 9, 2000. - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333
TTY: (888) 232-6348, retrieved 7/15/2014, original source: http://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm.
Etzel, Ruth A. "Stachybotrys." Current opinion in pediatrics 15, no. 1 (2003): 103-106.
Green, Brett J., Euan R. Tovey, Jason K. Sercombe, Francoise M. Blachere, Donald H. Beezhold, and Detlef Schmechel. "Airborne fungal fragments and allergenicity." Medical Mycology 44, no. Supplement 1 (2006): S245-S255.
Green, Brett James, Detlef Schmechel, Jason Kingsley Sercombe, and Euan Roger Tovey. "Enumeration and detection of aerosolized< i> Aspergillus fumigatus</i> and< i> Penicillium chrysogenum</i> conidia and hyphae using a novel double immunostaining technique." Journal of immunological methods 307, no. 1 (2005): 127-134.
Green, Brett James, Detlef Schmechel, and Euan Roger Tovey. "Detection of aerosolized Alternaria alternata conidia, hyphae, and fragments by using a novel double-immunostaining technique." Clinical and diagnostic laboratory immunology 12, no. 9 (2005): 1114-1116.
Mitchell, Clifford S., Junfeng Zhang, Torben Sigsgaard, Matti Jantunen, Paul J. Lioy, Robert Samson, and Meryl H. Karol. "Current state of the science: health effects and indoor environmental quality." Environmental Health Perspectives (2007): 958-964.
Rand, Thomas G., and J. David Miller. "Immunohistochemical and immunocytochemical detection of SchS34 antigen in Stachybotrys chartarum spores and spore impacted mouse lungs." Mycopathologia 165, no. 2 (2008): 73-80.
Schmechel, Detlef, Janet P. Simpson, Donald Beezhold, and Daniel M. Lewis. "The development of species-specific immunodiagnostics for< i> Stachybotrys chartarum</i>: The role of cross-reactivity." Journal of immunological methods 309, no. 1 (2006): 150-159.
Vesper, Stephen J., Manju Varma, Larry J. Wymer, Dorr G. Dearborn, John Sobolewski, and Richard A. Haugland. "Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis of fungi in dust from homes of infants who developed idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhaging." Journal of occupational and environmental medicine 46, no. 6 (2004): 596-601.
Yike, Iwona, Anne M. Distler, Assem G. Ziady, and Dorr G. Dearborn. "Mycotoxin adducts on human serum albumin: biomarkers of exposure to Stachybotrys chartarum." Environmental health perspectives (2006): 1221-1226.
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Thanks to Lisa at "The Humanity Campaign", Chapel Hill NC, USA, Website: humanitycampaign.org, for broken link editing 7/15/2014. Quoting: The mission of The Humanity Campaign, Inc. is to reduce extreme poverty and hunger by increasing access to education, healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurial opportunity.
Mould in Workplace buildings, Alert 20: ISSN 1195-5228,
Produced by Professional and Specialized Services Issued: December 2000 Canada: Ontario Ministry of Labour, Health and Safety, Publications and Alerts, original web citation: www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/alerts/a20.html
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto, have provided us with (and we recommend) Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates' Technical Reference Guide to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
Kansas State University, department of plant pathology, extension plant pathology web page on wheat rust fungus: see http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Wheat/Wheat%20Leaf%20Rust.asp
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home",
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [Copy on file at /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
US EPA - Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
Allergies, Allergens, Allergy Testing in buildings - References & Products
Allergen Tests in buildings advice about how to test, what to look for, in evaluating the level of dog, cat, or other animal allergens in a building
"IgG Food Allergy Testing by ELISA/EIA, What do they really tell us?" Sheryl B. Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, Clinical Laboratory Director, Bastyr University Natural Health Clinic - ELISA testing accuracy: Here is an example of Miller's critique of ELISA
http://www.betterhealthusa.com/public/282.cfm - Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients
The critique included in that article raises compelling questions about IgG testing assays, which prompts our interest in actually screening for the presence of high levels of particles that could carry allergens - dog dander or cat dander in the case at hand.
http://www.tldp.com/issue/174/IgG%20Food%20Allergy.html contains similar criticism in another venue but interestingly by the same author, Sheryl Miller. Sheryl Miller, MT (ASCP), PhD, is an Immunologist and Associate Professor of Basic and Medical Sciences at Bastyr University in Bothell, Washington. She is also the Laboratory Director of the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic Laboratory.
Allergens: Testing for the level of exposure to animal allergens is discussed at http://www.animalhealthchannel.com/animalallergy/diagnosis.shtml (lab animal exposure study is interesting because it involves a higher exposure level in some cases
Allergens: WebMD discusses allergy tests for humans at webmd.com/allergies/allergy-tests
Animal Allergens: Dog, Cat, and Other Animal Dander - Cleanup & Prevention Information for Asthmatics and regarding Indoor Air Quality.
Recognizing Allergens: What various indoor allergens look like - identification photos to help identify pollen, dust mites, animal dander, toxic or allergenic mold - Common Mold and other Allergens, Irritants, Remedies & Advice
Rodent control issues, including dander, fecal, and urine contamination of buildings and Building insulation are discussed at our
Associations: Sick House, Sick Building, SBS - Air Quality, Government, Private Associations and Information Resources
Atlas of Clinical Fungi, 2nd Ed., GS deHoog, J Guarro, J Gene, & MJ Figueras, Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, 2000, ISBN 90-70351-43-9 (you can buy this book at Amazon) - The Atlas of Clinical Fungi is also available on CD ROM
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
"Disease Prevention in Home Vegetable Gardens,"
Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology,
Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension - extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6202
Fifth Kingdom, Bryce Kendrick, ISBN13: 9781585100224, is available from the InspectAPedia online bookstore - we recommend the CD-ROM version of this book. This 3rd/edition is a compact but comprehensive encyclopedia of all things mycological. Every aspect of the fungi, from aflatoxin to zppspores, with an accessible blend of verve and wit. The 24 chapters are filled with up-to-date information of classification, yeast, lichens, spore dispersal, allergies, ecology, genetics, plant pathology, predatory fungi, biological control, mutualistic symbioses with animals and plants, fungi as food, food spoilage and mycotoxins.
Ozone Warnings - Use of Ozone as a "mold" remedy is ineffective and may be dangerous.
Rot concerns in buildings-some building mold such as Meruliporia incrassata "Poria" risks serious rot and hidden structural damage
US EPA: Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
OTHER IAQ ISSUES: How To Find and Address Other Indoor Air or Indoor Environment Contaminants Besides Mold
Mold or allergens may not be the only or even the main indoor environmental contaminant. Don't let media attention to mold
cause so much enviro-scare fear that other, possibly more urgent hazards go un-addressed.
Rodents, Mice, Squirrel Control - I find high levels of mouse and rodent dander, fecal dust, and urine-contaminated dust in some buildings,
and high levels of these materials in building insulation in those locations. If you have a mouse problem, particularly if mice and their waste (fecals or urine) are contaminating
the building HVAC or building insulation, may need both steps to clean up or remove infected materials and steps to stop an ongoing
rodent problem. If squirrels are a problem, the cleanup needs to include closing off entry openings into the building. Get some
help from a licensed pest control expert.