In this week’s project, we were called to assess the indoor air quality of a small business in a modern two-story townhouse. There were reports of damp and fungal growths, which left ample opportunity for mould growth and spores. It was important to conduct a mould inspection so that we could make sure that the air quality of the business was safe. Mould can often be hazardous to the health of those in the vicinity, so we tried to identify what the cause of the mould was, and whether or not the mould spores were a threat to the health of the employees.
The building had a history of problems with damp, with mould growth and mushroom growth being present within the decontamination room and the staff toilet. After conducting our initial investigation of the building and looking at the extent of the contamination we determined that the indoor air quality in the dental practice was good. Fortunately, the extent of the visible fungal contamination was low and confined only to the door of the cleaner’s cupboard.
In order to ascertain what was causing the mould growth and what type of mould was being produced, we used moisture mapping to track the source of the dampness, and a mould inspection to determine the type of the mould. Through moisture mapping and a damp inspection, we found out that the property had been suffering from rising damp and elevated moisture in walls and floors in the decontamination room, the staff toilet and customer’s toilet.
Through our investigation, we found that the cause of the mould was high humidity due to the storage of wet mops, and a leaking sink in the decontamination room, which had been fixed prior to our arrival. With regards to the mould inspection, by taking spore trap samples we identified that there were a variety of mould spores in the building. Our mould survey showed there were a very high number of undifferentiated spores, Cladosporium and Basidiospores. Although we did not consider staff to be an increased risk on account of the mould, it was important to stop the mould from coming back in the future.
How to Maintain Air Quality in Future
In order to prevent the return of mould and mould spores we recommended that the building owners switch the air supply fan to ‘extraction mode’ to prevent humid air traveling into the rest of the building. To address the offending cleaner’s cupboard, we suggested that the door be wiped down and the mops stored so as to avoid contact with the door. Overall, we found that the indoor air quality was good, and although there was some fungal contamination, it was kept to a minimum. It is unlikely that the mould will reoccur often, and even with mould present, none of the employees were considered to be at an increased risk to health. By removing the existing fungal contamination and using localized containment and air filtration, the owners will ensure that the air quality stays high.