Not So Early Warning That Mold May Be Present in Florida Schools
Recently, the deplorable health conditions at a South Florida High School
garnered national attention on the internet. Popular website Buzzfeed posted photos of moldy juice
, unclean drinking water, mold-infected juice boxes, and cockroaches in the school, with the headline “Horrifying Health Hazards at Miami Sunset Senior High.” According to sophomore Andrea Pereyra at Miami Sunset Senior High. “At least once a day you’ll see a roach in my school,” she said. “There’s never any hand soap to wash your hands. There’s rarely toilet paper or paper towels. It just looks like they’re never
Internet image of mold allegedly found in juice carton at the school in question.
cleaned. The floors are disgusting.”
Mold infestation and growth in schools is often subtle and sneaky, growing under linoleum floor tile, inside walls, and in AC closets, and ventilation ducts where it can’t be seen but it’s ill effects can be all too readily felt. More mold inspections and testing in our Florida schools is the answer to early detected and treatment. It is very common for our inspector to walk into a school, hospital, or other pubic building and immediately detect mold odors, often originating in the AC ducts. If not detected and treated, mold can effect the health of the students who put there trust in the hands of school officials. Fortunately, there are signs that you can look for in terms of the general upkeep of the maintenance of a school that nine times out of ten will also indicate that there is a high probability of dangerous mold growth or other allergen sources such as pest infestation or dust mites. The presence of cockroaches, unclean toilet facilities, un swept and unwashed hallways and classroom floors, excessive moisture staining on ceiling tile, and unrepaired plumbing leaks even small ones all produce ideal conditions for mold, roaches, rodents, dust, and dust mites, that can be making our children sick.
If students complain that they see cockroaches every day, chances are that there many more hiding in the cracks and crevices unseen, and these insects thrive in the same dark, humid environment that promotes mold growth. Large cockroach populations live amongst and stir up mold causing the spores and roach allergens to be transferred to surfaces throughout the school on the feet and backs or roaches in the middle of the night.
Another early warning sign of unhealthy conditions in Florida schools is unclean toilet facilities. Bathrooms are plumbing areas with sinks and toilets. If toilets, sinks, mirrors, and floors are not cleaned daily, what are the chances that leaky or sweaty plumbing has been repaired? even minor leaks can cause mold. Are toilet seats and hot and cold water valves on sinks being cleaned adequately? I would think possibly not. Such conditions can lead to the spread of disease causing bacteria. So if students complain that there is never toilet paper available, or that the toilets stink or are unclean, school administrators should suspect that there may be unsanitary conditions where pathogenic bacterial, or unaddressed leaks resulting in mold problem may exist. Such conditions should be addressed with housekeeping and maintenance immediately.
Finally, dirty hallway floors and walls are a sign that practically nothing is being done to clean the school and the general health conditions of the students is being neglected. If there is trash and visible dirt left on the floor day after day it is an indication that not enough is being done to clean the school and it may be a breeding ground for rodents, insects, mold, and potentially disease causing bacteria.
It’s time to start seeking and listening to our students when they complain about the health conditions in our schools.
Our inspector has conducted chemical related indoor air quality investigations as well as mold testing in schools and medical facilities including private schools, hospitals, and clinics from South Florida to the Panhandle in North Florida.
So if you need an independent outside consultant to investigate unhealthy conditions at your school or other public or private building anywhere in the state feel free to call us.