In 1993, the Federal-Provincial Advisory Committee on Environmental and Occupational Health (CEOH) released Indoor air quality in office buildings: a technical guide. This report provided guidance on methods for investigating buildings for air quality problems, including molds. A subsequent report from the same committee, Fungal Contamination in Public Buildings: A Guide to Recognition and Management (1995), provided information on health implications of molds in buildings and a step-by-step protocol for the investigation and interpretation of indoor fungal contamination.
The purpose of this current document is to update the Fungal Contamination in Public Buildings report in view of the large amount of research reported since 1995 on health effects of mold damage in the built environment, as well as on methods for investigating buildings for such damage. This report is not, therefore, intended to replace the Technical Guide, but to provide additional information to those responsible for the investigation and management of fungal contamination in office buildings, schools and other non-industrial workplaces.
Consistent with the 1995 report, this updated review of health effects indicates that living or working in a building with material mold damage is harmful to health. Therefore, indoor mold growth in buildings should be prevented by appropriate control of moisture sources and by timely remediation of water damages. Mold growing in buildings should also be removed under safe conditions using established remediation protocols.
A significant difference between the two documents is the greater emphasis on the general principles of investigation in the current report. As new building investigation techniques become validated, the general principles described here can be used as a framework for their application.