OSHA Quick Card: Mold

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Summary Statement

Brief description of the hazard associated with exposure to mold, how to prevent mold growth and cleanup tips.

Molds are microscopic organisms found everywhere in the environment, indoors and outdoors. When present in large quantities, molds have the potential to cause adverse health effects.

Health Effects of Mold Exposure

  • Sneezing
  • Cough and congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Aggravation of asthma
  • Eye irritation
  • Dermatitis (skin rash)

People at Greatest Risk of Health Effects

  • Individuals with allergies, asthma, sinusitis, or other lung diseases.
  • Individuals with a weakened immune system (e.g., HIV patients).

How to Recognize Mold

  • Sight – Usually appear as colored woolly mats.
  • Smell – Often produce a foul, musty, earthy smell.

Preventing Mold Growth

  • Remove excess moisture with a wet-dry vacuum and dry out the building as quickly as possible.
  • Use fans to assist in the drying process.
  • Clean wet materials and surfaces with detergent and water.
  • Discard all water damaged materials.
  • Discard all porous materials that have been wet for more than 48 hours.

General Mold Cleanup Tips

  • Identify and correct moisture problem.
  • Make sure working area is well ventilated.
  • Discard mold damaged materials in plastic bags.
  • Clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water.
  • Disinfect cleaned surfaces with ¼ to 1½ cup household bleach in 1 gallon of water. CAUTION: Do not mix bleach with other cleaning products that contain ammonia.
  • Use respiratory protection. A N-95 respirator is recommended.
  • Use hand and eye protection.