Back to school – be aware of your childrens surroundings

Back to school – be aware of your childrens surroundings

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 70% of all American & Canadian schools have a mold problem.  With their flat roofs and lack of maintenance this number is not farfetched. With budgeting for public schools constantly being discussed and adjusted, all too many schools fail to be properly maintained. Budget cuts in funding too often leave schools in disrepair. A common site in too many schools is a leaking window, ceiling or water pipe. According to every credible source on the subject, including the EPA, if building materials are not dried out within 24-48 hours mold will begin to grow.

If these conditions are not corrected it can lead to a serious mold problem within the school’s breathing environment for faculty and students. It does not even need to be visibly growing on the surfaces of the windows, walls or ceilings of the school in order to affect the health of it’s occupants. It can be growing inside the walls, where a pipe broke or above the ceiling, without being visible. Many of the structural molds are toxic. They produce mycotoxins to kill off their microbial competitors. Mycotoxins can damage the brain and central nervous system. This is why it is important to keep a close eye on your children and what they are surrounded by each day.

Mold is not the only concern that you should keep an eye on unfortunately, One area of concern for parents and teachers is the finding of asbestos in school buildings. If a school was built before the 1980s, it’s likely that it contains some form of asbestos. About half of all schools in the U.S. and Canada were built from 1950 to 1969, when asbestos materials were highly prevalent in construction.

When maintenance work disturbs these materials, or they start to deteriorate over time, asbestos dust can enter the air and be inhaled. Exposure to the dust puts teachers and students at increased risk for mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious lung conditions.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos-containing materials reside in many of the approximately 132,000 primary and secondary schools in the nation. These schools serve more than 55 million children, and are the worksites for more than 7 million teachers, administrators and support staff.

As long as asbestos building materials remain in good condition, the EPA insists they pose minimal health risks and recommends schools leave them in place. But if negligent maintenance work or improper abatement procedures occur, otherwise harmless asbestos products can cause serious exposures.

For more information on mold and asbestos in public schools please follow us on our social media channels, we often share stories to these topics!

Further Research Linking Mold With Asthma

Further Research Linking Mold With Asthma
Yet another study has been published that links the presence of mold with asthma.
The study by Dr. Richard Sharpe of the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK, found that increased levels of the fungal species Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium can pose a significant health risk to people with asthma. The study further concludes that these fungi will worsen symptoms in children and adults.
Cladosporium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, and Penicillium species were found to be present in higher concentrations in homes of asthmatic participants. Exposure to Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium species were found to be associated with increased risk of reporting asthma symptoms by a limited number of studies. The presence of Cladosporium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, and Penicillium species increased the exacerbation of current asthma symptoms by 36% to 48% compared with those exposed to lower concentrations of these fungi, as shown by using random-effect estimates. Studies were of medium quality and showed medium-high heterogeneity, but evidence concerning the specific role of fungal species was limited. (Indoor fungal diversity and asthma: A meta-analysis and systematic review of risk factors)
These conclusions were based on findings gathered by systematically reviewing 17 studies that were done in 8 different countries.
During an interview by Dr. Marie Benz of www.medicalresearch.com, Dr. Sharpe emphasizes the following:
1. Dampness and fungal contamination in the home has been consistently shown to increase the risk of asthma and the severity of its symptoms.
2. Majority of the evidence reviewed focuses on the exacerbation of asthma symptoms, and few assess their role in the development of asthma.
3. So far Aspergillus and Penicillium species have already been linked to an increase in the risk of asthma development in children, but we know little about the effects of the other species we considered.
4. Dampness is one of the major factors affecting the growth of mold inside homes – a problem which has been on the rise as aging houses are sealed and retrofitted with new energy efficient technology. We currently know very little about how people’s living habits can contribute to indoor air quality, and ultimately affect their health. This study highlights the need for homes to have adequate heating, ventilation and home maintenance – all factors that will help to reduce the presence of mold and its effects on asthma symptoms.
If you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.

Asthma In School Children Caused By Mold!

Asthma In School Children Caused By Mold!
In about 30 days, summer holidays will be over and our children will be back in school. One of the questions we have been researching is the impact that poor air quality has on the health of children. In fact, February, 2012, Got Mold? posed the question: Should Canadian School Boards be Concerned About Mold?. This question stemmed from the fact that earlier that year, CNN reported that one-third of American schools had poor air quality.
One of the most common health concerns for children is asthma. What causes asthma?
One study based on a survey of more than 10,000 university students, cited that there was a strong correlation between mold and asthma.
Another study of 300 children found a strong correlation that three species of mold–Aspergillus ochraceus, Aspergillus unguis and Penicillium variabile–caused asthma in children. The studies author went on to conclude that: “It’s proof of common sense that you want to take care of mold in the home. It’s just proving that if you don’t do that, your kids are more likely to develop asthma.
December, 2013 the New York City Housing Authority was forced to recognize mold as a health threat and specifically that one of the core causes of asthma was moisture and mold.
It would appear that more research is pointing to the fact that the prevalent and core cause of asthma in children is, indeed, mold.
Research out of Taiwan, provides even more proof that mold causes asthma.
The researchers studied school children aged 6 to 15 years old in 44 schools and concluded that:
Classroom Aspergillus/Penicillium and basidiospores are significantly associated with childhood asthma and asthma with symptoms reduced on holidays or weekends (ASROH). Government health policy should explore environmental interventions for the elimination of fungal spores in classrooms to reduce the prevalence of childhood asthma.
Based on this conclusion, it is fairly clear that parents, teachers, school trustees, and the government needs to take the issue of mold in schools seriously. It is no longer a theory that poor air quality affects the health of school children, it is fairly clear that it does. It is also fair to conclude that the prevalent cause of childhood asthma is mold.
If we want to reduce the number of children with asthma, then the obvious solution is to address the issue of poor air quality in schools. Will this happen? I am hopeful, but in an age of constant government cutbacks and tight budgets, the likelihood of this happening is not very high. The driving force for change in schools will ultimately have to be the parents whose children are impacted by poor air quality.
As a parent, the only way you can determine if your child’s school is causing sickness is to monitor their health during the summer when they are away from school and monitor their health when they are in school.
Here are some questions you may want to consider when your child is back in school.
How do I know if my child is getting sick at school from mold?
Some children are more sensitive than others. But watch out for symptoms that seem to appear only at school – for example, wheezing, hoarseness, cough, runny nose, acid reflux, digestive issues, headache and irritated eyes.
What should I do if I suspect my child is getting sick because of school?
Visit your children’s classrooms and other parts of their schools. Do you see or smell mold or mildew? Are there signs of water leaks on walls, around windows or on the ceiling?
Musty and earthy odors are always an indication that a mold problem is present. Dirty carpet and water damage might also mean mold and bad air quality. Mold grows where there’s moisture.
How do I know if it’s mold?
If you see fuzzy, slimy, or discolored surfaces — especially in damp or wet areas — it’s probably mold. Molds can be green, black, gray, purple or even orange.
What if I see a problem?
Alert your principal or a School Board member. A lot of times, it will take more than one call or e-mail to get a response. Although calls might be quicker, your letters will provide a paper trail. Also, be sure to log all your calls, letters and observations. Inform other parents of the problem.
How can I protect my child?
Educate yourself. Talk to school officials about what they’re doing to control humidity and how quickly they’re fixing leaky roofs and windows. Ask to see copies of investigative reports and work orders for repairs and mold removal. Finally, ensure that your child is maintaining a healthy diet so their immune system is strong.
If you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.

Calgary Indoor Air Quality Testing

Calgary Indoor Air Quality Testing
Managing Partner of Got Mold? Calgary, James Zolkavich, invites all residents of Calgary and surrounding areas to schedule their air quality tests. According to Zolkavich:
Any resident impacted by the summer floods or any type of water damage, should consider an air quality test because the air you breath will have a direct impact on your health. Air quality testing is very important if you have small children who have respiratory issues or suffer from asthma, which is now proven to be caused by bad air and in particular, mold. Poor air quality can also cause sinus issues and allergic reactions. Constant exposure to bad air will also lead to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, known as Sick Building Syndrome, which the World Health Organization states is directly caused by water damage.
Founder and President of Got Mold?, James C. Watson, based in Saskatoon, also recommends the following:
You should consider an air quality test If you smell an earthy, musty, mildew and even urine like odour. This smell is usually an indicator of Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds. MVOC’S are an indicator of active and past fungal (mold) growth and should not be treated lightly because this will have a negative impact on air quality as well.
For a limited time, Got Mold? Calgary is offering a 20% discount to customers that mention this article. To book your appointment and take advantage of this offer, contact us.

Stats on Mold in Schools

Stats on Mold in Schools
My son started school this week. Since I have devoted more than 2 years researching and writing about mold and its health effects, it has created some anxiety for me because I do wonder how safe is the air quality of the school my son attends.
We have been tracking stories on mold since 2012. Out of curiosity, I decided to spread sheet all the stories pertaining to mold in the schools. Here are my findings.
Since the beginning of this year, we have posted 39 Mold in the News blogs. In total, there have been 627 stories documented. On average, there are about 78 stories about mold that are reported in the news each and every month.
Since the beginning of January, there have been 105 stories published about mold in schools.
The percentage of stories involving schools based on what we have published is about 20%, meaning that for every 10 stories we report on, an average of 2 pertain to mold in schools.
The big question, of course, is how many incidences of mold in schools are not being reported? What do you think?
We look forward to your thoughts and comments.