Bixby school cleared after mold problem

BIXBY, Okla. - Students at the Brassfield 5th and 6th Grade Center in Bixby will return to class on Tuesday like normal after winter break. School officials say the mold problem has been solved.

The Tulsa County Health Department says the school took proactive measures to remove the mold. But 2News found there are no clear standards that schools have to take.

"It can affect any school, anytime. New or old," said Scott Meador, a senior environmental specialist with the Tulsa Health Department.

In December officials found an elevated spore count inside Bixby's fifth and sixth grade center, which led to air quality concerns. Students attended class at other schools while crews removed the mold found in carpeting and wallboards. A recent air quality report from an outside consultant cleared the school, finding "no visible mold present."

The Tulsa Health Department investigates complaints in schools like Bixby for air quality, dust and mold.
"I look for places where dust is coming into the school, I look for broken floor tiles. I look for janitor's closets where chemicals might be stored," Meador said.

He says the EPA provides guidelines schools can follow to remove mold. If they don't take action, students and teachers can develop side effects.
"Asthma, allergies, anywhere from a runny nose to a headache," Meador said.

Jeff Cooper with Oklahoma Disaster Restoration cleans up mold found inside of schools and homes. He says mold can form inside new and old buildings. And moisture leads to the problem.
"If you see a ceiling tile that gets discolored, or a sink is leaky or a water fountain is is leaking, get it addressed right away. Have the building materials around it dried thoroughly," Cooper said.

During a clean-up, crews contain the area so dust and debris don't spread the mold. But Cooper says there are no clear standards set to identify dangerous mold levels.
"One of the difficult things about mold is there is no national exposure standard like we have with lead. We know that a certain amount of lead will affect everybody, with mold it's not that way."

Places that have had mold removed should have a professional check the air quality to make sure it's gone.

You can read the air quality reports for Brassfield at www.bixbyps.org/education/components/scrapbook/default.php

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