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U.S. Government Mold Studies

Fed studies: Mold 'significantly' impacts health
By Michael McCagg, Cleaning and Maintenance Management Online, Dec. 10, 2002

WASHINGTON — Federal researchers taking part in a massive study examining the impact of mold contamination on worker health have a hypotheses to begin with — mold exposure significantly impacts worker health.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH] launched in 2002 a five-year study into the effects of indoor mold contamination. Jean Cox-Ganser, a NIOSH indoor air quality (IAQ) researcher, told CM e-News Daily/CMM Online this week that the study's principal aim is to identify risk factors for work-related asthma and to quantify exposure-response relationships between work related asthma and exposure to mold and bioaerosols.

The researcher said two prior federal studies found that "microbial contamination was significantly associated with work-related respiratory effects." "Significant relationships were found between endotoxin and ultra-fine particles in air and work-related respiratory symptoms and between indicators of mold in chair and floor dust with work-related respiratory symptoms," said Cox-Ganser.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], [the U.S. Occupational and Safety Administration ---OSHA], the American Lung Association and other groups have listed mold as a detriment to indoor air quality and building occupant health.

The NIOSH study, Cox-Ganser said, should eventually allow federal authorities to identify risk factors for work-related asthma in buildings. Further, she said, the study will hopefully lead to more information being readily available on how to maintain a healthy indoor environment.

Approximately 15 researchers are contributing to the study, she said, which is examining workers in large facilities.

Already, investigations have occurred in hospital and college facilities with more than 3,000 workers and a study is ongoing in an office building with more than 1,300 workers.


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