Proactive response is critical in preventing and eliminating the growth of mold

By Eric KowalNovember 1, 2022

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As a result of findings at other U.S. Army installations, Picatinny Arsenal leadership is taking a proactive approach to reporting and response to any mold growths in housing and work areas. Installation officials want servicemembers, family members, and employees to have the means to address and express any concerns if an issue arises.

“The Prevent, Report, Remediate Mold Campaign is a proactive installation effort to educate and address any mold concerns to ensure our team is working in a safe environment,” said Picatinny Arsenal Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Alexander Burgos. “We are always looking for ways to educate the community on what to look for in keeping our workforce and community safe, and this campaign is an example.”

U.S. Army Garrison Picatinny Arsenal housing residents can report excess mold growth in their home to their maintenance team. Family housing residents who suspect a mold issue in their residence should call 973-328-2992, select option 2, and put in an urgent work order. Residents should then also call the Housing Office at 973-724-2190.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to keep mold at bay is to be proactive. This includes increasing ventilation, removing moisture, and immediately cleaning any beginning signs of its growth.

There are thousands of mold species, and they can be of any color. It is important to note that the color of mold is NOT an indication of whether it may be hazardous to your health.

•       Most people have no reactions to mold. Mold exposure can irritate the eyes, nose, and respiratory tract; and can be associated with allergic reactions, asthma attacks, nasal and sinus conditions, and lung conditions.

•       Your healthcare provider can help you determine if you or your child’s health condition may be associated with mold exposure, which may require additional testing and referral to a specialist.

Mold occurs naturally outdoors, and microscopic spores (seed-like) are found everywhere in the air. It can become a problem indoors when there is water damage, elevated and prolonged humidity, or dampness.

Mold spores can enter our homes through the air and on clothing and shoes. Therefore, mold is found nearly everywhere, and we are exposed to it every day. There are no Environmental Protection Agency or other federal standards regarding exposure to mold or mold spores.

Some common sources of excessive indoor moisture that can lead to mold problems are:

•       Flooding from surface waters

•       Roof leaks from damaged or missing roofing materials

•       Ice dams or blocked gutters

•       Storm‐driven rain through window frames,
exterior walls or door assemblies

•       Leaking pipes

•       Sewer back‐ups or overflows

•       Damp basements or crawl spaces

•       Condensation on cold surfaces

The key to preventing mold is to control moisture and condensation

•       The best defense is to keep a clean, dry home

•       Address any water damage quickly and stop further water incursion immediately; clean up spills or larger inflows of water within one day

•       Make sure your home is well ventilated and always use ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens

•       If possible, keep humidity in your home below 50 percent; use an air conditioner or dehumidifier, when needed

•       Avoid using carpet in areas of the home that may become wet, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and basements

If mold is growing in your home, you need to clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided the following tips for cleaning mold:

Mold can be removed from hard surfaces with household products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than one (1) cup of household laundry bleach in one (1) gallon of water.

If you use bleach to clean up mold

·       Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce a poisonous gas.

·       Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when you use bleach or any other cleaning product.

·       Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.

·       Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of affected areas.

·       If the area where mold has been found is larger than 10 feet, on-post housing residents should contact their community center or barracks management representative for professional remediation.

What to do if you have health concerns

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Schedule an appointment with you or your child’s primary care provider and/or ask if mold might be contributing to current health conditions. The provider will ask screening questions and may order further testing or a referral to specialist.

If warranted, the provider may recommend a residential mold assessment.

If living on post, contact the housing office to report concerns about mold. If living off post, contact your local health department or landlord.

The Army Public Health Center has a web page with useful information on
mold hazards, including measures to and links to resources:

Various agencies provide resources:

•       U. S. Environmental Protection Agency

•       The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

•       National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

•       U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

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