With the tragic turn of events at Seattle Children's Hospital, the subject of mold in healthcare environments has taken front-and-center stage all across the country. It's important to understand that there is always a little mold everywhere indoors - in the air and on most surfaces. Mold spores are brought into the building through various means (such as) being "tracked-in" from outdoors by occupants, through penetrations in building construction communicating to outdoors, and through the introduction of outdoor air used for ventilation, to name just a few. When mold spores are deposited in places where there is excessive moisture, such as where leakage may have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls, or where there has been flooding, in short time they can grow.
Typically this mold is not harmful to (most) people, but in a setting where a majority of its population may be immunocompromised, mold can be very dangerous, if not deadly. If mold is found to be proliferating in any healthcare space, it must be quickly and professionally remediated. Unfortunately it may be difficult to detect mold when growing in confined spaces, such as above ceilings or inside walls, so whenever any sign of water penetration or flooding is noticed it should be assumed that mold will flourish and precautions taken. Part 2 on this important topic of mold in the healthcare environment will delve into more detail on mold's ever-presence and how it can be eliminated.