CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Emili Potts first noticed the mold outside of Craige dorm on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, trailing the wall below her leaky air conditioning unit. When the junior began having trouble breathing, she looked inside her AC unit and saw mold growing on the vents. Her moldy dorm room was making her sick.
She went to the doctor because her throat hurt and she couldn’t stop coughing. The doctor told her she had bacterial pneumonia, most likely linked to the AC unit. She was hospitalized for two days in February, missing classes and two exams.
She also incurred about $3,000 in medical bills after insurance.
“I’m a very outgoing person,” said Potts, who is a resident adviser in Craige, “and I like to talk to my residents and make sure I have time for them and all of that. But being sick all the time, it also makes me very tired, so I spend a lot of time just like being exhausted and don’t have the energy to do my job effectively.”
Information about Controlling Mold in Dorms
The student website now provides specific information and instructions to students to help them prevent a moldy dorm. It reads, “Maintaining a healthy indoor environment, including good indoor air quality, requires a joint effort. Participation is needed by the university faculty and staff, students, Environment, Health and Safety Office, and Facilities Services. No heating or air conditioning system can eliminate all pollen, dust, allergens or mold spores.”
“To prevent mold growth, good housekeeping practices and routine maintenance are necessary. Given a source of moisture, mold can grow just about anywhere within 24-48 hours. These conditions can be created by food, organic materials containing moisture, wet towels or water intrusion. Spills which are not cleaned up immediately are also to blame.”
“When air quality concerns are reported, EHS will work with Housing Support as needed to perform student interviews, as a part of an indoor air quality investigation. We will then develop a plan to locate and remediate the sources of air quality concerns.”
Credits for information in this article are due to Myah Ward, (UNC Media Hub).