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Air Quality Updates

Frequently Asked Questions


What is mold?

Mold is a part of the natural environment and aids in the decomposition of leaves, trees, and other natural organic materials. Individual mold spores are invisible to the human eye and are continually floating around outside in nature. However, when those spores make their way into indoors and are exposed to wet/humid areas they can begin to grow or colonize.

 

How does mold spread?

Mold is found almost everywhere and can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, insulation, ceiling tiles,clothing and painted walls as long as moisture and oxygen are present. It is impossible to completely eliminate mold and mold spores in the indoor environment due to the traffic of daily human activity.Spores are constantly being carried in on clothing, shoes, and backpacks.
However, we can mitigate the impact on air quality - View Best Practices

Why do we have mold here but not at home?

Actually, there's a good chance you do. Multiple studies have found up to 70% of homes in America have some level of mold present. The difference is all about volume. Hundreds of people enter and exit your residence hall on a daily basis, leading to hundreds of chances of introducing spores from outside. This is compounded and complicated by the circulation issues created by having rooms stacked side-by-side and on top of one another, each with their own air conditioning system.
Mold & air quality issues are a regular issue for college residence halls, apartment complexes, hospitals, office buildings,
and any other structure where there are many enclosed spaces within one building.

 

Isn't mold dangerous?

Scientists suspect there are over 300,000 different types of mold found on Earth. While it's true some are considered a health risk,the vast majority of common mold species are considered allergenic in nature, and some produce no reaction at all.
Of course, every person will respond differently to different allergens. Some people are more sensitive to mold and may experience short-term or acute reactions in the presence of mold growth, while others may not have any reaction whatsoever.
Symptoms associated with mold exposure are not unique and cannot be easily distinguished from symptoms caused by other medical conditions, such as the common cold or seasonal environmental allergies, like hay and pollen.

 

Can my room be tested for mold?

Mold is present all around us. Given time and a hospitable environment, mold will almost always appear on mold test kits sold at hardware or home improvement stores, even in spaces with no mold growth whatsoever. These kits are designed to collect samples to be sent to certified laboratories for analysis and identification of the type of mold present, not to gauge the existence or severity of mold. Instead, we rely on careful detailed visual inspection and recognition of moldy odors to find problems needing correction. In select situations, WKU Environmental Health and Safety staff may perform air sampling to help identify the severity of a mold issue.

 

I think I have mold in my room. What do I do?

Submit a work order by visiting wku.edu/housing/maintenance. Include as many specific details as possible. Technicians will respond and complete an inspection of furniture, walls, closets, and HVAC units to check for any evidence of mold growth or other concerns, as well as take internal temperature and humidity readings.

 

I have more questions. Who should I contact?

WKU Housing & Residence Life: (270)745-4359, hrl@wku.edu 

For media inquiries, please contact Jace Lux at (270)745-4295.

 

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 Last Modified 10/8/21