Our Commitment to Health and Safety
The safety, health, and well-being of every resident and campus staff members is a matter of utmost priority for the department of residence life and the division of Institutional Planning and Operations. Rutgers University–New Brunswick is committed to providing an environment that is free of recognized hazards and to investigate concerns related to mold growth on building materials. The information below is intended to help answer your questions regarding moisture control, preventing mold and mildew and provide university as well as federal resources.
Tips for Moisture Control
Avoid opening your window during air-cooling season.
Avoid blocking or placing anything in front of or on top of your air-cooling unit.
Avoid leaving wet clothes on the floor, including workout clothes and towels.
Keep thermostat setting on auto to reduce the amount of condensation on, or around, windows, and to maintain proper airflow.
Clean bathroom and kitchen weekly and report any chips, drainage, or other moisture issues.
Report any signs of moisture damage as soon as possible so appropriate measures can be taken to fix the issue.
For maintenance requests: bit.ly/maintenancerequestru
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is mold and mildew and what are the differences?
Mildew refers to certain kinds of mold or fungus. The term mildew is often used generically to refer to mold growth, usually with a flat growth habit.
Molds include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae. Molds can thrive on any organic matter, including clothing, leather, paper, and the ceilings, walls and floors of homes with moisture management problems. Mildew often lives on shower walls, windowsills, and other places where moisture levels are high. There are many species of molds. In unaired places, such as basements, they can produce a strong musty odor.
Molds grow on most any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors. REHS has developed guidelines for the cleanup of moldy surfaces and materials. These guidelines are based upon recommendations presented by the EPA. The EPA does not regulate mold or mold spores in the indoor air. Sampling for mold has no regulatory standard, so therefore, REHS usually does not sample for mold. Read more here.
- Are there any state or national regulations regarding mold?
There are no federal or state regulations directly governing the presence of mold or mold spores in buildings. There are also no health standards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or public health departments for concentrations of mold spores in the indoor air. Professionals agree that the presence of visible mold on indoor building materials is an unacceptable condition, and should be remediated.
- Is it safe for me to stay in my room that currently has mold?
According to federal health and safety agencies, mold growth is commonly found in both indoor and outdoor environments. Some people are sensitive to molds and may experience short-term reactions in the presence of mold growth. Symptoms associated with mold exposure are not unique and cannot be readily distinguished from symptoms caused by other medical conditions such as the common cold or seasonal environmental allergies. Since some individuals may have more intense reactions, individuals with medical conditions or who experience symptoms should consult with medical personnel regarding their risk to mold exposure.
- Can mold cause heath problems?
EPA guidelines state that, “Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing. This brochure provides a brief overview; it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.” Read more about mold at https://www.epa.gov/mold.
- Who do I contact about cleaning mold?
Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, individual residents can clean the residue on their own following the Mold Cleanup Tips and Techniques. If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.
- If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then consult with university facilities and residence life.
- If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult with university facilities and residence life.
- If there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, you should contact university facilities and residence life for additional support.
- How do I clean mold?
Places that are often or always damp can be hard to maintain completely free of mold. For example, if there’s some mold in the shower or elsewhere in the bathroom that seems to reappear, increasing ventilation (running a fan or vent frequently) and cleaning more frequently will usually prevent mold from recurring, or at least keep the mold to a minimum. Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Dry all items completely. If you suspect that the mold is coming from any plumbing leaks or other water problems, please contact university facilities and residence life as soon as possible.
- Does renter's insurance cover mold?
Though renters insurance can sometimes cover certain types of water damage, mold is usually not covered by renters insurance. If your renters insurance excludes mold damage, and you need coverage for it, you’ll need to buy additional coverage for your policy, which is called an endorsement. Even when you have a mold endorsement, your coverage may only be limited to a certain amount. We advise you consult with your insurance company for the specific details of your plan/coverage.
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