The growth of mold in resident halls at the University of Rhode Island has been a recurring issue. The Housing and Residential Life office attempts to ensure solutions to students who may be having issues with mold, especially in their bathrooms.
Most types of mold will grow in places where there is a lot of moisture, which is why seeing mold in bathrooms is extremely common. Jeffrey Plouffe, the associate director of Housing and Residential Life, makes sure students know that housekeepers do their best at keeping bathrooms clean and mold at bay.
“What we do is we are in the bathrooms, we clean them, we have moldicides that we use, Plouffe said. We learned that bleach does not work, people thought that it worked but what actually happens if you put bleach on mold, it causes spores to be released. It is a defensive posture of mold. So we got advice from Grainger for the best products to use and now every housekeeper has moldicides to use.
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Plouffe recounted that the only big case of mold the university has had this year was during move in at Fayerweather Hall. Fayerweather and a few other buildings are completely closed off during the summer and, because of that, no new air is getting circulated and it gives mold the chance to grow. He said that a student came in with a mold allergy and seemed to be having a reaction.
Mold in and of itself is not a pathogen for most people, Plouffe said. If you have a compromised immune system, if you have an allergy, if someone was allergic to pollen, they would have a reaction and the same is true with mold. The best measure to see if there is mold is when someone has an allergy to it; they can feel it when no one else even knows it is there.
The mold issue in the rugs of Fayerweather at the beginning of the year was taken care of immediately. The university offered the student a chance to move, had the hallway tested and found that the hallway had a high level of aspergillus niger, a common species of aspergillus. The next day they began having the carpet treated, and since then there have not been any reports in that specific area.
I have seen mold around in some bathrooms and it worries me because I know how it can be a hazard to your health if it gets too bad, a Fayerweather resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said. I had a friend who had an issue with mold and it did not seem to be taken seriously when she reported it. Though it is nice to know that we can contact HRL directly instead of trying to go through someone else.
If a student has any indication of mold, especially where they are maintaining their own bathroom, call us and a housekeeper will come and eradicate the mold right away, Plouffe said. In cases where someone was having a response to it and we could not see anything that was visible we would bring in a company to test and treat it.
If any student is having an issue with mold in their bathroom, hallway or bedroom, they should call the customer service line for Housing and Residential Life at 401-874-4151.