Mold damage and growth is something that most of us have to deal with, especially in the Philadelphia area where structural basements are popular and the climate has the tendency to be humid. While mold is often times our friend, giving us things such as medicine, great cheeses, and mouth watering wines, but if mold is growing in your home, chances are it is not the type of mold that you want to be dealing with.
This past fall, Cedarbrook Middle School in Cheltenham was delayed in opening due to mold growth in the building. Because schools have strapped budgets, the janitorial staff that would normally help keep these schools clean is getting slashed, so mold in schools is becoming more and more of an issue. The latest statistics state that 1 in 10 children has asthma, and asthma and mold are not a good mix. Parents of students that attend this local school want the school torn down or for the district to pay for a $26.3 million renovation. In the case of this particular school mold happens to be all over the school, but started in the basement. Even if mold is only visible in a basement area, it does not mean that it is not affecting the entire structure.
Generally, when we think of buildings or homes, we think of them in a compartmentalized fashion. Rooms are separated because of walls and doors, as are floors with stairs, etc. Well despite the fact that it may seem this way, this compartmentalization is not always the case. Mold spores travel on air currents, and air moves through buildings, so one affected room can mean that the whole building may be suffering from mold growth because most ventilation systems are interconnected. If one room in a building or school as mold chances are, all of them may suffer from it. It doesn’t matter how big or small the building is either. If the mold growth goes on untreated, it can make a significant impact.
In cases like the one of this Philly area school, this is catastrophic for students, especially those who are asthmatic or suffer from an allergy to mold. The presence of mold in schools leads to increased absenteeism. The EPA says that mold causes 13 million missed school days a year. Not only does mold growth create a lot more absences, but it also can create an environment where kids who are sensitive to mold problems are unable to concentrate and their learning will suffer. Not to mention that mold growth in schools only adds to the amount of diagnosed cases of childhood asthma, and also to the number of cases that go untreated.
And this Philly area school is not the only one that was affected. Schools all over the area are affected by mold and mold damage as well as schools all over the nation. Because this is such a common problem in schools, it often goes unnoticed until parents get involved. There are many cases all over the country where mold and mold damage is visible, but is not reported due to lack of education regarding what the dangers of mold growth are. Not only are homes suffering from issues, which has been revealed in the media lately to be a huge issue for those in low income areas, but the schools in these low income areas are also suffering from mold growth, so these kids are not getting a break.
What can we do to help schools like this one as well as prevent this from becoming a bigger issue in more schools? We can push lawmakers to create standards for mold. As of right now, not many regulations exist out there for schools or public buildings and the proper cleanup and maintenance of mold removal. By urging our decision makers to put these standards in place, we can help the kids who are suffering day in and day out as well as others who work/spend time in government regulated buildings. The bottom line is that living, working, or going to school in an area that is full of mold is not safe, regardless of pre existing conditions or not, so it is up to us to make sure that our legislators know not only about the issue, but how we as citizens feel regarding mold in public buildings. Call up your local school district, your local leaders, and even take it up to the state and national levels if you have to. In order to create change, we must act, so if you are suffering from mold at a local school and it is affecting your child, start acting today.
If you suspect a mold problem in your home or in your place of business, give your local mold remediation contractor a call to find out what your options are. Professionals can help your school pinpoint the problems that you are having and will let you know what the steps are for you getting your area school cleaned up. While cleaning up a school of mold growth can be a long drawn out process that involves a lot of hands and a lot of politics, it is one that will not only help your child, but the kids attending the school now and in the future.
Does your child attend a school where mold in an issue? What is your school district doing to handle the situation? Tell us your story and let us know if there is anyway that we can help you and your local school.