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July 2006

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WASHINGTON -- A new Safety and Health Information Bulletin issued by OSHA today gives recommendations on how to prevent mold growth and how to protect workers involved in the prevention and cleanup of mold. Indoor exposure to mold can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks in some individuals.

"This bulletin offers workers some basic information on how to prevent, control and remove mold in buildings leading to the reduction of health risks," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "By reading this bulletin, workers with little or no experience with mold remediation may be able to determine if a mold problem exists and whether the contamination can be managed in-house or if outside assistance is required."

The Safety and Health Information Bulletin is directed primarily at building managers, custodians, and others responsible for building maintenance. It offers recommendations on how to prevent mold growth, proper use of personal protective equipment, ways to assess mold or moisture problems, and methods to cleanup damage caused by moisture and mold growth.

The bulletin also includes checklists on mold prevention tips, how to determine if a mold problem exists, cleanup methods, and mold remediation guidelines based on the size of an affected area to make it easier to select the appropriate techniques. Additional sections address personal protective equipment, sampling methods and remediation equipment.

Molds are found almost everywhere and can grow on virtually any substance as long as moisture and oxygen are present. Molds can damage building materials and, if left unchecked, can eventually cause structural damage to wood-framed buildings by weakening floors and walls.

Some molds have the potential to cause adverse health effects, including asthma attacks in some people who are allergic to mold. Exposure to mold can also cause other types of allergic reactions, including hay fever type symptoms, skin rashes, and irritation to the eyes, noses, throat, and lungs in both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.

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