Mold and Indoor Air Quality

Mold contamination has become quite topical in health and safety literature. Unchecked, mold growth may adversely affect health, particularly among susceptible populations.  However it is not difficult to eliminate exposure in the typical workplace. Mold is  present in ambient air but needs a wet surface to grow. There have been instances reported in the literature where millions of dollars were spent on air monitoring, building renovation, and medical testing, but because the root cause, a wet surface, was not addressed, there was no improvement in occupants’ health status.  Possible sites for mold growth are wet ceiling tiles and other porous materials.  If your work area is affected by a flood or leak, be sure any affected ceiling tiles are replaced; furniture and carpets that cannot be dried out in a few days should be discarded. Occasionally, mold is blamed for irritation that is in reality is caused by a dusty environment; a little light housekeeping may help eliminate respiratory symptoms.

Tissue Sectioning Precautions

Microtome and cryostat blades are the sharpest items on campus which may explain their involvement in a large percentage of accidental cuts every year.
*      Avoid the temptation to use your finger tip to flick pieces of wax off the blade-use a brush. 
*      Do not discard used blades in their original container.  Immediately after use, put used blades in a sharps container.  Blades left ‘lying around’ have a way of becoming magnets for unprotected skin.
*      Caution! For your personal safety, the hand wheel must be locked in the upper portion of the vertical range when changing or handling the blade and when changing specimens.
 *    Treat all cryostat debris as infected; freezing does not significantly reduce microbial load.
Beyond all the “do’s-and-don’ts” keep in mind that reported accidents frequently included one or more of the following terms: “hurrying”, “rushing”, and/or “not being careful”.


Donation of EH&RS/EH&S Gas Chromatograph to Chemistry Department

EH&RS/EH&S has donated its Shimadzu gas chromatograph to the Department of Chemistry, where it will be used as a teaching tool in the undergraduate instructional laboratory.  The GC is equipped with a flame ionization detector (FID), and uses a hydrogen generator to generate fuel, eliminating the need for cylinders of hydrogen.



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