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Temporary building changes - access to Library, Staffroom, B and F Block corridors
Over recent years, there have been challenges with our school buildings and weathertightness. There has been work undertaken by both the school and Ministry of Education on these issues, and as part of work carried out at the end of last year, we discovered mould growth inside the B and F Block corridors, library, and staffroom.As we advised at the time, the wellbeing of staff and students is our key priority, and we quickly shut off these areas so investigations could take place over the school holidays.
Over the holidays Dr Francesca Kelly, an Auckland public health doctor who specialises in environmental health has worked with the school, providing an understanding of mould and how, and when it may have an impact on health.
What is mould?
Mould is part of a group of very common organisms called fungi that also include mushrooms and yeast. It is present virtually everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.
Mould may grow indoors in wet or moist areas that lack adequate ventilation, including walls or wallpaper, ceilings, bathroom tiles, carpets, insulation material and wood. If moisture accumulates, mould growth will often occur on indoor surfaces.
Can mould affect health?
Mouldy environments are associated with allergens and can create other health risks for people who are immunocompromised.
The most common symptoms associated with mould exposure include allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues. Long-term exposure to mould can lead to chronic respiratory problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and can aggravate existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma.
Allergy effects are much more common than other immunological, or toxic effects.
Children may develop allergy/asthma if unduly exposed to mouldy environments. There is not an identified exposure time for allergy development. It is individual and depends on the amount of exposure and personal health factors. Infection is typically only a risk for people with immunosuppression such as cancer treatment, organ transplant or steroid medications.
The compounds from mouldy environments can also provoke irritation to the airways and skin in people who may or may not experience allergy to moulds.
It is important to know that both allergy and irritation effects clear up when the exposure stops.
Are there any long-term effects from mould?
It is highly likely that if someone was affected by the mouldy environment, the symptoms would reduce / stop now that they are no longer exposed. Therefore, it is important to address mould growth as soon as it is discovered.
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1 Archibald Rd, Kelston, Auckland 0602, New Zealand