Students exposed to health hazard in schools across the state.
The excitement of students returning to the classroom has been replaced with concerns over recently reported mold contamination in schools across the region. Mild to severe reactions to hidden mold include asthma, allergies, breathing problems, coughs, colds, headaches and sore throats. However, the solution may pose its own health hazards, according to local indoor air quality specialists.
“Often times, people want to use harmful chemicals to clean up the visible mold colonies,” says Laura Champagne, co-founder of Natural Home Solutions LLC, serving Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. “The issue with this approach is that the chemicals stop at the surface and are used up in the process and evaporate away. The superior way to fight the mold is by using enzymes.”
Specifically, Champagne and partner Jim Oliver treat affected areas with EnzyCleanseTM, created by scientists at XSPOR Life Sciences as an alternative to toxic chemicals. The proprietary green formula incorporates natural enzymes that act as a catalyst breaking down mold roots and spores and eliminating contaminations. EnzyCleanseTM continues working to prevent mold growth long after the treatment.
EnzyCleanseTM is applied using a fogger that produces micro-droplets small enough to penetrate contaminated surfaces and areas. The process includes fogging the duct work as well, so that the air that is being circulated around the buildings is safe as well. It is non-toxic, organic, and safe around humans or pets.
“Traditional mold removal may also incorporate a destructive strategy that requires tear-down, removal, and replacement of contaminated surfaces,” says Oliver. “This type of drastic action is often labor-intensive and far more costly than our eco-friendly abatement solutions.”
Oliver explains moisture problems in old school buildings with aging HVAC systems can be exacerbated by scheduled maintenance activities or conditions during school breaks such as:
• Increased moisture due to painting or carpet cleaning
• High humidity during the summer
• No air conditioning or heating system operation (or reduced use) when school is not in session.
“Mold thrives on dark, humid, warm environments and can live undetected within porous materials and in places such as wall cavities,” adds Oliver. “The key to controlling indoor mold growth in schools is to control moisture.”
After cleaning the affected areas, the best way to prevent new growth is to run dehumidifiers and air scrubbers. The dehumidifiers are in place to remove the humidity and the air scrubbers will work to remove the spores from the air. Air scrubbers are important for two reasons; they will decrease the spores so that they do not continue to grow and they will make the air less harmful.
“Imagine mold as a dandelion that gives off white seeds,” says Champagne. “The seeds fly through the air and once they land back in the grass and make their way back into the soil, they then create new dandelions. Microscopic mold spores travel through the air and when they land on wood, drywall, and other moist, porous surfaces, they continue to grow new mold.”
Musty smells can be the most effective way to detect mold. Black spots can be seen on surfaces. Water stains or warped materials can also be an indicator of possible mold contamination; however, Champagne notes that the best way to detect mold is through an air quality test. The air in a particular area gets tested and sent to a third-party lab. Sometimes it is also appropriate to do a surface strip test that also gets sent to the same third-party lab. Regular moisture testing of the surfaces in question are also helpful to track the humidity levels and determine the source of the water. The presence of mold is always associated with the presence of water.
“Parents and staff who suspect mold should immediately report their concerns to a trusted adult, administration or the board of health,” suggests Oliver. “We take great pride in restoring a healthy environment for children and educators to thrive.”
About Natural Home Solutions LLC
Natural Home Solutions LLC, is committed to keeping homes and businesses safe from mold contamination. Serving Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, the professional team performs high-quality mold testing and nontoxic, non-destructive remediation at an economical price. As one of only a few EnzyCleanseTM licensees in the region, the company is proud to offer this safe, green alternative with a two-year performance guarantee. EnzyCleanseTM is an organic, naturally-derived mold elimination solution created by the scientists at XSPOR Life Sciences. Call 860-436-7021 for an estimate. Learn more at naturalhome.solutions.