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Alternatives for Healthy Interior Educational Environments

| January 26, 2015 | 0 Comments
Bob Bowen

Bob Bowen

by Bob Bowen

For many facilities managers, mold and mold removal can be a scary proposition. Although many understand that mold in a building adversely affects indoor air quality, the thought of undertaking an effort to remove mold (as well as the time and cost associated with traditional methods) can be daunting.

When the building under consideration is a school or other educational facility, the stakes become even higher. Mold in a home or building adversely affects the indoor air quality. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that we spend as much as 90% of our time indoors, and emphasizes the importance of healthy indoor air quality. Even with all the pollutants released into the outdoors, indoor air can be much more dangerous to breathe. Mold and mildew in homes, schools, and workplaces have a dramatic effect on overall health — from allergic reactions like a sore throat, runny nose, and watery eyes, to sometimes severe illnesses.

Traditional mold removal not only typically entails tearing out walls, ceilings, carpets, and interior framework, but uses chemicals, including bleach-based solvents, that have proven to be unsafe, ineffective long-term, and bad for the environment. While few would consider either of these options palatable, schools in particular would find it hard to justify using dangerous chemicals (given both the impact on the student body as well as the greater environment) or coming up with the money necessary for pulling apart interior structures, and then having to reconstruct them.

What many school facilities managers (and other building managers) don’t realize, however, is that there are advancements in the industry that allow for effective and natural mold remediation, without the need to trash everything the mold has affected. First, the facility in question should undergo a mold inspection and testing. This process will help to identify where the mold is occurring, and, more importantly, why it is occurring, to ensure the property is safeguarded against future water and moisture issues. But once mold is found, it’s important to consider alternative remediation products.

New mold removal products, which are FDA-tested and approved and EPA-registered, can eliminate surface, air, and hidden mold and mold spores and bacteria when applied with fogging machines. Through a recent biotech breakthrough, food-grade plant-based enzyme technology removes mold by first bonding with mold, then breaking it down. The enzyme solution then converts it to amino acids and other common substances with no allergenic properties. This noninvasive procedure not only kills mold, but removes it — an important distinction from what chemicals do, since dead mold still carries allergenic properties that can have a negative impact on building inhabitants. To achieve a healthy living environment for any building, it’s important to recognize that better, and safer, solutions exist for mold removal and bacteria sanitization.

Bob Bowen is founder of Indoor Environmental based in Weymouth, Mass. and Sebastian, Fla.

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