Opinion

Mold spores may pose health threat in dorms

Living in South Florida, there are a few things we should all expect from our environment. The combination of sun, rain and humidity can result in factors that can range from minor discomforts to serious health problems. We should all be aware of how our environment affects us so that we can better adapt to a sometimes hostile climate.

One particular problem is affecting the residents of our campus community: mold. It is caused by humidity and builds in such places as air conditioning ducts and behind walls. Although harmless in small quantities, if unchecked, large build-ups can be extremely hazardous to one’s health. Mold spores can cause nasal and sinus congestion, dry cough, wheezing, sore throat, shortness of breath, burning eyes, skin irritation, central nervous system problems and other respiratory problems. Most of these symptoms can be easily mistaken for a cold and mold may never be identified as the culprit. If left untreated, permanent physical damage can result.

How do you know if your dorm room or apartment has mold? It’s not that difficult: if you can see or smell mold, you have a moisture and mold problem. Mold growths are often seen in the form of discoloration.

It’s a problem that has construction companies around the country scrambling to solve the issue when building new homes. Millions of dollars have already been claimed by people who have been affected, since, the argument is, it is the way buildings are constructed that make a house more inviting to mold. In fact, Erin Brockovich, whose fight against the electric giant PG&E led to a movie, has taken on this new battle against irresponsible construction work after her own house had been affected by a hazardous amount of mold.

Some UM students who are well versed in this problem have discovered mold in their own dorms and have been experiencing most of the symptoms attributed to mold. However, it took numerous complaints on their part for it to be removed from their air conditioning ducts.

This lack of response from the university should not be blamed on laziness or disrespect, however. It is more likely that those in charge of maintenance are not aware of the serious health risks involved with the build-up of mold. It is important that measures be taken so that more serious health problems involved with these organisms do not arise.

Jean-Paul Renaud is a senior majoring in Journalism and Political Science.

October 29, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The land of palm trees, beaches and mojitos gave way to the land of the Liberty Bell, cheesesteaks a ...

The University of Miami on Thursday launched a national search as it begins the difficult task of re ...

It would be hard to blame Avery Huff for rethinking his commitment to the Miami Hurricanes right now ...

The losses keep coming for Miami Hurricanes football and Mark Richt. And this feels like the biggest ...

The University of Miami is losing the architect of one of the nation’s best defenses. UM defensive c ...

Commencement speakers share gems of insight and wisdom as more than 1,000 UM students graduate in tw ...

During a news conference Wednesday, a UM medical team talked about the clinical findings after exami ...

Your one-stop shop for University of Miami fall commencement information. ...

The University of Miami will welcome more than 1,000 new graduates into the UM alumni family during ...

A UM medical team has released the first report of acute symptoms and clinical findings in 25 person ...

Fall graduation ceremonies held Thursday at Watsco Center. ...

The Miami women's basketball team ascended one position in each of the major national polls thi ...

Gerald Willis III added to his postseason awards list, picking up second-team All-America honors fro ...

Following its longest break of the season thus far, the No. 25/23 Miami women's basketball team ...

Miami head women's tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews announced Friday the signing of two players ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.