Hidden Mold and Asbestos in Hospitals
Roof leaks and pipe bursts can be dramatic, but some of the more serious problems in hospitals and medical facilities can develop out of sight. Moisture can build up underneath the building or behind walls, and this can result in hidden mold. This is why it is crucial for the healthcare industry to employ mold, and even asbestos, professionals.
Where Do These Hidden Problems Develop?
Under floors. Inside walls. In the ceiling. Hidden problems like mold can occur pretty much anywhere moisture gets trapped. Other places include:
- Around pipes
- Behind wallpaper and drywall
- Behind tiles and paneling
- On wall surfaces and behind appliances and furniture
- On top of ceiling tiles
- Under carpets and floorboards
- Utility rooms
- Roofing materials that have been exposed to leaks
Why is Hidden Mold and Asbestos Dangerous?
These hidden issues can wreak havoc on people’s health, and most of the time no one even realizes the danger until damage has been done.
- Occupant Health
Because hidden molds are so hard to find, people can experience health symptoms for months without even being aware of it. This puts patients in hospitals, for example, at risk of long-term exposure to asbestos and mold that can lead to infections in immunocompromised patients.
- Infection Control
Hidden mold and asbestos are typically not uncovered until renovation work is already well underway. This can actually lead to an infection control emergency as once something like mold has been exposed, it is too late to contain mold spores and protect higher-risk patients from being exposed.
How to Identify Hidden Problems
To start with, you will need to look for non-invisible clues in your medical facility. Many common strains of mold tend to emit volatile organic compounds that let off a musty smell.
Secondly, listen to people in the building. If patients are increasingly complaining about health symptoms, a hidden mold or asbestos problem could be the reason. Pay attention to wheezing, coughing and upper respiratory symptoms as well as an increase in allergies.
The Next Step
If you suspect there is hidden asbestos or mold in your facility, it’s time to call in a professional from Quality Environmental Inc. It is important to have an infection control specialist set up the correct containment measures before starting maintenance or renovation work that could disturb building materials. This will help protect patients and avoid the risk of an infection control emergency.