Indoor Air Quality
In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more polluted than the outdoor air. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.
Mold, or fungi, lives in virtually any building, under sinks, in bathrooms, basements, refrigerators, or any damp dark place. At first, the mold is inconspicuous, or microscopic. After it has spread and completely covered the area with millions of cells, you start to see the mold.
If mold is discovered, fix the source of the problem. In most cases, the best level of control of contaminated materials is the complete removal of the contaminated items. This includes completely replacing wallboard, sheet rock, and carpeting or damaged organic materials (wood bearing products). Light instances may be cured using a weak bleach solution. In this case, you must assure that the contaminated item be allowed to dry completely. To prevent mold proliferation in your home or building:
- Reduce indoor humidity by:
- Maintaining building under positive pressure (keeps moisture and nutrients outside the building in their natural environment)
- Vent moisture producing sources to the outdoors (locker room exhaust, bath exhaust, cooking exhaust)
- Controlling growth at the source:
- Look for and correct the cause of water stains on ceilings, walls and floors
- Assure plumbing fixture integrity
- Assure that all HVAC drain pans are sloped properly and that drains are free of obstruction
- Inspect HVAC equipment periodically for sources of contaminant or moisture buildup
- Eliminate all sources of condensation, windows, piping, etc.
- Seal penetrations in walls or floors, especially below ground
- Check for moldy odors
- REMOVE ANY SOURCE OF FREESTANDING WATER.
How N.C. Public Health can help:
The Division of Environmental Health provides consultative analysis and referrals regarding public complaints about indoor air pollution in homes and businesses.
Industrial hygienists, physicians and toxicologists with Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services serve as consultants to school systems, local health departments, homeowners, renters, employees, business owners, physicians, and other governmental agencies. They:
- Provide guidance and literature to the general public and others on various IAQ topics.
- Provide training and support on IAQ-related issues to local health departments and other organizations.
- May conduct on-site IAQ evaluations of buildings such as schools, governmental offices, and selected other buildings, as requested by physicians, local health departments and other governmental agencies.
Contact (Mailing Address):
Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology
Division of Public Health
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
1912 Mail Service Center
Raleigh NC 27699-1912
Phone: (919) 707-5950
Fax: (919) 870-4808
Location (Street Address):
5505 Six Forks Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27609
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