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Q & A: Should These Molds be Allowed in an Endoscopy Clinic?

Mold Types in Health Facilities

A reader asked the following question on November 10, 2007 :

I completed a swab test kit from IMS Laboratory on a ceiling tile in an endoscopy department and the lab results showed too numerous to count Acremonium sp., Alternaria sp., Aspergillus sp., Cladosporium sp. and Epicoccum ingrum.

How big of a concern should this be. My understanding of the report is that these are common molds found everywhere outside. Should these molds be showing up in a health care facility, endoscopy clinic?


Mold Spores

Each of these molds give off spores that float through the air, looking for the ‘perfect’ place to attach, and then reproduce and thrive. Yes, these types of mold are everywhere – outside.

They need to stay outside. They have their specific place in nature, however you don’t want them in your home, your business, and especially not your health care facility.

Acremonium sp. & Alternaria sp.

Both of these though not considered the most dangerous types of mold do give off toxins that cause ill health effects or allergies in people. Also note that Acremonium sp. is found growing very closely with stachybrotys mold – the most dangerous type of mold found so far.

Asthma is a big problem these types of mold can cause and the best way to prevent is to remove the mold entirely. If people were to come to an endoscopy clinic, and then leave feeling sick with symptoms of mold exposure, the clinic would have a fairly large problem on their hands.

The employees will begin to have symptoms of “hay fever” and an ongoing cold – which just doesn’t look good to a patient walking in to be taken care of.

Aspergillus sp.

Studies show this specie of mold is the second most dangerous mold type next to stachybotrys. It carries harmful mycotoxins that cause severe illness in humans.

This is one mold type you definitely do not want growing in your health care facility.

Mold Spreads Quickly

Also remember that mold spreads – quickly. The best time to take care of a mold problem is immediately after finding. The longer remediation is put off, the more mold will grow – the bigger the job of removing mold.

Also, even if there is just a slight trace of one toxic mold type, and a large amount of a not so dangerous mold – each give off spores and both reproduce at a fast pace. It won’t be long before the area is over run with toxic mold and looking for a new area to permeate.

Mold in Health Care Facilities

When ingested, breathed in, or even taken in through the skin, mold spores attack the immune system. These mycotoxins that certain breeds carry and give off make people sick and weaken the area that fights infection. People in health care facilities are generally not in top condition anyway.

Mold exposure affects these people harder because their ability to fight off sickness is not as strong as a healthy, young immune system. When dealing with mold in a health care facility extra precaution should be taken to keep the facility clean and free of growing mold spores.

I would also recommend you read the following informative posts :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

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One thought to “Q & A: Should These Molds be Allowed in an Endoscopy Clinic?”

  1. Generally in a clinical setting you are going to want to have a sterile environment as reasonably practical. With that said I don’t think your sampling actually answered you questions.

    First you took a swab sample, did you record the area you swabbed? The too numerous too count seems to indicate that there is thick and active mold growth , or could mean you over-swabbed a large area. Not criticizing by the way but you should always be sure of your sampling methodology.

    Two is there an active leak in the ceiling? What caused the mold growth in the tile? No amount of sampling will actually fix the problem.

    Without even taking a single sample I can tell you , you have a problem if you have visible mold growth on a large area.

    In reality though the mold is a symptom and not the problem itself. Fix the leak, dispose of the impacted tiles and the problem should disappear.

    The cautions would be of course if the mold growth appears to be widespread or the leak has been there for a while, then sampling and cleaning may be in order to ensure all the mold is removed.

    By the way in some instances I think aspergillus/penicillium may be more harmful than stachybotrys. Aspergillius has a much smaller spore and particle size (somewhere between 3-6 microns off the top of my head). The smaller size makes it easier for the particles to be respired into the deeper areas of the lung, aspergillus is definitely somewhat easier dispersed in the air than stachy so a moderate growth may impact health long before its clearly identified and recognized as a hazard.

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