EPA Mold Course

The Environmental Protection Agency has developed an online tutorial course as an overview to mold prevention and remediation. This course is meant to cover basic information for property owners and contractors and should not be used in lieu of a state-approved certification course. The course is based on the EPA’s guide “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings”. People who may find this information of value include public and environmental health professionals including, but not limited to, building managers, custodians, remediators, and contractors.

To take the basic knowledge quiz on mold, continue to the Pre-test.

This is the first of a series of mold publications circulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. More information and resources on mold can be found at the main website for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. All images are used for presentation and educational purposes and can be located in the EPA’s Image Library.

Suggested Study Schedule: We suggest reviewing one lesson a day. At the end of each chapter, take the knowledge test to be sure you are understanding the material. If you do not score with an 80% accuracy, you should review the material and retest.

Asthma and Allergic Diseases

Asthma and Allergic Diseases

  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI)
    (800) 822-2762 

    Physician referral directory, information on allergies and asthma
  • Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American (AAFA)
    (800) 7-ASTHMA (800-727-8462)
    Information on allergies and asthma
  • American Lung Association (ALA)
    (800) LUNG-USA (800-586-4872)
    Information on allergies and asthma
  • Asthma and Allergy Network/Mothers of Asthmatics, Inc. (AAN*MA)
    (800) 878-4403 or (703-641-9595)
    Information on allergies and asthma
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
    (301) 496-5717 

    Information on allergies and asthma
  • National Jewish Medical and Research Center
    (800) 222-LUNG (800-222-5864) 

    Information on allergies and asthma

Information found at Environmental Protection Agency.

Antimicrobial Information Hotline

Antimicrobial Information Hotline

(703) 308-0127/(703) 308-6467(FAX)
Monday-Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST
email: Info_Antimicrobial@epa.gov 

The Antimicrobials Information Hotline provides answers to questions concerning current antimicrobial issues (disinfectants, fungicides, others) regulated by the pesticide law, rules and regulations. These cover interpretation laws, rules, and regulations, and registration and re-registration of antimicrobial chemicals and products. The Hotline also provide information health & safety issues on registered antimicrobial products, product label and the proper and safe use of these antimicrobial products.

Information found at Environmental Protection Agency.

Mold Remediation–Key Steps

Mold Remediation – Key Steps

  • Consult health professional as appropriate throughout process
  • Select remediation manager
  • Assess size of mold problem and note type of mold-damaged materials
  • Communicate with building occupants throughout process as appropriate to situation
  • Identify source or cause of water or moisture problem
  • Plan remediation, adapt guidelines to fit situation, see Table 1 & Table 2
  • Select personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Select containment equipment
  • Select remediation personnel or team
  • Choose between outside expertise or in-house expertise
  • Remediate
  • Fix water or moisture problem
  • Clean and dry moldy materials See Table 2
  • Discard moldy items that can’t be cleaned
  • Dry non-moldy items within 48 hours See Table 1
  • Check for return of moisture and mold problem
  • If hidden mold is discovered, reevaluate plan

Information found at Environmental Protection Agency.

Mold Clean Up

NCSU article details how to prevent and clean up after a flood or mold infestation.

NCSU article

Mold Prevention Tips

Mold Prevention Tips from the EPA

  • Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building envelope as soon as possible.
  • Watch for condensation and wet spots. Fix source(s) of moisture problem(s) as soon as possible.
  • Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
  • Keep heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly, and unobstructed.
  • Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
  • Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, if possible.
  • Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
  • Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
  • Don’t let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.

Information found at Environmental Protection Agency.

Mold Remediation in Schools

Commercial buildings and schools are areas of concern for public health. Mold detection and remediation is pertinent in order to insure the quality of health, especially for our children and elderly populations. When mold is found in public buildings, adverse health problems may be reported by occupants, employees, and general populations. Health issues may include allergies, skin irritations, and breathing problems. Serious problems may occur in circumstances where 1) children or elderly individuals, 2) individual with low immunity systems, 3) individuals with other health issues such as asthma, or 3) toxic molds are present.

Mold in School.

(Photo available through Mold News January, 2003 issue)

Article information found at Environmental Protection Agency.

Mold Removal

First rule: Mold will not grow if moisture is not present. Airborn mold spores spread from the outdoors to the indoors landing on surface material. If any moisture or water vapors are present, mold will cultivate. If you see mold growing in your home, you already have a serious problem that must be addressed. Because the spores are microscopic, only large colonies are visible to the eye. The mold must be removed and the water problem fixed to prevent recurrence.

Information found at Environmental Protection Agency.

What are Molds?

Molds are fungi that are prevalent both indoors and outdoors where moisture is ever present. Although the exact number of species s not know, experts estimate anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands are uniquely identifiable. Mold reproduce through airborne spores which make it easy to spread and are adaptable enough to lie dormant in cold, dry climates and can amazingly remain dormant for 130 years plus.

More information available at Center for Disease Control.

Mold and Health Problems

As many people know, molds are a common cause of outdoor allergies.  However, indoor allergies are also caused by reactions to mold colonies that are not visible to the eye. All molds have the potential to cause health problems, specifically allergies, irritations, and sometimes toxins. Allergic reactions are caused by inhalation of spores. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, eye irritation, and sometimes skin rashes in external  reaction.  These reactions may be immediate or delayed. Mold is also a common cause of asthma attacks. The effects of mold on individuals is an ongoing health issue.

Information found at Environmental Protection Agency.

Why is Mold Growing in My Home?

In a natural environment, mold is part of the nature’s cyclical process. Mold works to break down organic material, which is great if you are creating homemade organic mulch for your garden. However, in your home, this is not necessarily a good thing. Mold reproduces by microscopic airborne spores. When these spores blow into the house and land on dusty surfaces or organic material (wood, paper, fiber, clothe, etc.), they continue to cultivate. Warm moist areas are best at culturing mold, but any form of moisture will work.

Wet conditions favor the development of fungal blights of tomato. Mold is everywhere.

(Photo available from ISU Plant Disease Clinic)

Information found at Environmental Protection Agency.