Indoor air quality and toxic mold are issues across many industries and many households.

This indoor air quality article comes from Quality Assurance magazine and outlines at least 3 things a food manufacturing facility can do to keep mold and other unsafe airborne particles from contaminating their product.

It’s the same advice we give to people concerned with mold growing in their home: ventilation, filtration and source control.

1. Ventilation. At minimum, it needs to replace the oxygen that is consumed, take away air contaminants, and provide human comfort and health.
In fact, ..”in any indoor environment, you typically find that the air quality is worse indoors than it is outdoors,” Cull said. “But all these things can be flushed out and diluted by ventilation.”
The ventilation allows fresh air to combine with indoor air and dilute the contaminants that build up within the space, Burton said, “If you double the amount of fresh air coming in, it will generally cut in half the concentration of airborne contaminants.”
2. Filtration. However, there are some contaminants that are higher outdoors. “In most parts of the country, there is not much of an issue, except for molds; but if air contaminants are greater in the outdoor air than in the indoor air, you can have a problem,” Burton said. For example, if mold is blooming outside, you don’t want it coming into the food.
“You can keep outdoor environmental issues from becoming an indoor environmental issue,” he said.
Thus, while ventilating indoor air out, you also need to filter the outdoor air being brought in. This is also true for air recirculated through a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Most standard HVAC filters are media filters which remove particulates; but a food plant may also need to consider use of a phase filter, which removes gasses, odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
3. Source Control. While ventilation and filtration are important for air quality, “the best approach to controlling air quality is source control,” Cull said. “Identify the actual source of what’s causing the problem, then fix it; reduce it; minimize it.” For example, if equipment is giving off an odor, your first reaction may be to add ventilation. Instead, he said, determine why it is odorous, then fix the issue; or replace it with a new, more efficient model.
The source is not always obvious, and you may need to dig around to find the source, or, he said, you may have to hire an industrial hygienist to pinpoint it.
If you’re concerned mold is in your home or place of work, the first thing to do is to get it properly removed. Call Dutch’s Mold Inspection for more information.

Mold Removal – What Your Home and a Food Manufacturing Facility Have in Common