NIOSH Tools to Help Identify Dampness and Mold in Buildings and Schools
The Board for Global EHS Credentialing® (BGC®) reminds workers and employers of the need to address damp conditions and mold exposure risks in the workplace.
Lansing, MI, July 15th, 2019 -- Last December the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced it had developed a Dampness and Mold Assessment Tool for General Buildings and another focused on schools. The two new documents are meant to provide a mechanism to investigate, record, and compare indoor conditions over time, as well help to prioritize remediation of problem areas.
In announcing the tools, NIOSH stated, “Office buildings, schools, and other nonindustrial buildings may develop moisture and dampness problems from roof and window leaks, high indoor humidity, and flooding events, among other things. Damp building conditions promote the growth of mold, bacteria, fungi, and insects. Occupants in damp buildings can be exposed to pollutants in the air from biological contaminants and the breakdown of building materials.”
Occupational exposure to damp conditions and the microbial growth it often causes can lead to a number of health concerns. Exposure to elevated levels of fungi is known to cause respiratory irritation, allergies, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) in some workers. It can trigger an asthma attack in some people with the condition and there are some types of fungi that can cause opportunistic infections in workers with a weakened or suppressed immune system.
“These new NIOSH tools are a good reminder of the importance of regularly conducting visual inspections in all types of buildings to identify moisture problems before they lead to mold contamination and other concerns,” said Dirk Yamamoto, PhD, CIH® and Chair of the Board for Global EHS Credentialing®. “Mold and moisture issues can be complex and Certified Industrial Hygienists are one group of professionals uniquely qualified to conduct these types of investigations to protect workers and the public from exposure. CIHs offer crucial support in managing the risks associated with moisture issues and mold growth through their knowledge of air sampling, chemical and biohazards, personal protective equipment, health-risk analysis, and other core competencies of the CIH® program.”
To learn more about the Certified Industrial Hygienist® credential, visit www.ABIH.org or to locate a CIH® to perform industrial hygiene services, please email a request to abih@ABIH.org. For information about the Qualified Environmental Professional® credential or Environmental Professional In-Training® (EPI®) designation, visit www.IPEP.org or email ipep@IPEP.org. Please call (517) 321-2638 for questions about BGC® or its credentials and designations.
About the Board for Global EHS Credentialing®
Since 1960, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene® (ABIH®), a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world's largest organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. In 2019, ABIH® created a new, high-level organizational umbrella called the Board for Global EHS Credentialing® (BGC®) to more accurately reflect its enhanced credential offerings, which include the Certified Industrial Hygienist® (CIH®), Qualified Environmental Professional® (QEP®), Environmental Professional In-Training® (EPI®), and a Product Stewardship credential, which is in development. Currently, more than 7,600 people around the world hold the CIH® credential, QEP® credential, or EPI® designation.