Controlling Mold and Moisture During Routine Cleaning and Maintenance for a Healthy School Environment

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Why It's Important

  • Moisture problems in school buildings can be caused by roof and plumbing leaks, condensation and humidity. Also, moisture may not escape as easily from tightly sealed buildings constructed in the past 20 to 30 years.
  • Moisture stimulates the growth of molds and other biological contaminants. Damp schools provide a nurturing environment for mites, roaches and rodents, which are associated with asthma, allergies and other respiratory diseases. 
  • Moisture and mold can also damage building infrastructure and result in costly renovations. 

What You Can Do

  • Conduct an initial inspection of the school environment. Identify immediate actions that can be taken. 
  • Refer to and follow your state's relevant environmental health policies and emergency management protocols when conducting preventive mold and moisture activities. 
  • The Prevent Mold and Moisture component of EPA's model school environmental health program provides information to help schools create and maintain clean, productive learning environments.
  • A few hundred dollars of annual preventive maintenance can avoid the need for costly repairs, as well as the potential legal liability due to health risks for children and staff. 

EPA and Federal Partners

  • EPA's Molds and Moisture website offers numerous resources on mold basics, prevention and control tips, and cleanup guidelines to protect the health of building occupants and those who clean mold from buildings.
  • The Mold and Moisture section of EPA's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools explains what causes mold to grow and how to clean up different types of mold. It also lists how to identify and correct five common mold and moisture problems.

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National Organizations

  • Mold in Schools: Resource List by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities offers an annotated list of links, books and journal articles on identifying, assessing and removing mold-contaminated materials from school facilities and preventing mold growth.
  • WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould (PDF)(248pp, 2.65M, About PDFby the World Health Organization reviews the health effects of building moisture, summarizes the conditions that determine the presence of mold and offers both preventive strategies and measures to control dampness and mold growth indoors.

Regional, State and Local Resources