The Dangers of Mold

Mold Spores are everywhere on the planet. Just add water and they will grow.

 

 All molds reproduce by making spores.

 Mold spores are microscopic  and only become visible when individual spores accumulate. According to  the United States EPA, these microscopic particles continuously move  through indoor and outdoor air. When mold spores find moisture indoors,  they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in  order to survive. Molds gradually destroy whatever they are growing on. 

What is MOLD?  Molds are forms of fungi that are found everywhere, both indoors and  outdoors, all year round. Outdoors, molds live in the soil, on plants,  and on dead or decaying matter. Another common term for mold is mildew.  There are thousands of species of molds and they can be in any color,  including white, orange, green, brown, or black. Often mold can be  detected by a musty odor. Most fungi, including molds, produce  microscopic cells called spores that spread easily through the air. Live  spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths (colonies) when they  find the right conditions. All of us are exposed to fungal spores daily  in the air we breathe, both outside and inside.

How does mold get into a house or building?  Most, if not all, of the mold found indoors comes from outdoor sources.  It seems likely to grow and become a problem only where there is water  damage, high humidity, or dampness. All molds need moisture to grow.  Common sources of indoor moisture that can cause mold problems include  flooding, roof and plumbing leaks, damp basements or crawlspaces, or  anywhere moist air condenses on cold surfaces. Bathroom showers and  steam from cooking may also create problems if not well ventilated.

How can I prevent mold growth?  Controlling excess moisture is the key to preventing and stopping  indoor mold growth. Keeping susceptible areas in the home clean and dry  is very important. Ventilate or use exhaust fans (to the outdoors) to  remove moisture where it accumulates: bathrooms, kitchens and laundry  areas. Be sure your clothes dryer vents to the outside of the house (but  not into your crawlspace). Repair any water leaks promptly, and either  dry out and clean or replace any water-damaged materials. Materials that  stay wet for longer than 48 to 72 hours are susceptible to producing  mold growth. Lowering the humidity in the home also helps prevent  condensation problems. To lower humidity during humid weather, air  conditioners and dehumidifiers may be used. Proper exterior wall and  attic insulation helps prevent condensation inside the home during cold  weather that could promote mold growth.

What is BLACK MOLD?  The news media often refer to “black mold” or “toxic black mold”. It  has usually been associated with the mold Stachybotrys chartarum, a type  of greenish-black mold commonly associated with heavy water damage. It  has been inconclusively associated with severe health effects in some  people. While there are only a few molds that are truly black, many can  appear black. Not all mold that appears to be black is Stachybotrys.

Why should we be concerned about mold?  Small amounts of mold growth in workplaces or homes (such as mildew on a  shower curtain) are not a major concern, but no mold should be  permitted to grow and multiply indoors. When molds are present in large  quantities, they may cause nuisance odors and health problems for some  people. Mold will damage building materials, finishes and home  furnishings. Some molds will also cause structural damage to wood.

How do molds affect people?  Some people will have no reaction at all when exposed to molds.  However, allergic reactions (similar to common pollen or animal  allergies), are the most common health effects for individuals sensitive  to molds. Flu-like symptoms and skin rashes may occur. Molds may also  aggravate asthma. Fungal infections from building-associated molds may  occur in people with serious immune disease, but this is very rare. Most  symptoms are temporary and can be eliminated by correcting the mold  problem in the home.

Who is affected by exposure to mold?  For those who are affected by mold exposure, there can be a wide  variation in how they react. People who may be affected more severely  and quickly than others include:

Infants and children
Elderly people
Pregnant women
Individuals with respiratory conditions, or allergies and asthma
Persons with weakened immune systems (For example: People with HIV  infection, chemotherapy patients, organ or bone marrow transplant  recipients, those with auto-immune diseases.)
Those with special health concerns should consult their doctor if they  are concerned about mold exposure. The symptoms that may seem to occur  from mold exposure can also be due to other causes, such as bacterial or  viral infections, or other allergies.

What should I do if I see or smell mold in my home?  The most important step in solving a mold problem is to identify and  fix the moisture sources that caused the mold growth. For small mold  problems, use detergent and water (NOT bleach!)  to wash mold off hard surfaces, then dry the area completely. Porous or  absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles, drywall and carpeting) that  become moldy should be completely removed and replaced. If you do not  see mold growth, but notice a musty odor, mold may be growing behind  water-damaged materials, such as walls, carpeting or wallpaper. Persons  cleaning mold should wear gloves, eye protection and a respirator to  protect against breathing in airborne spores. If you have health  concerns, you should consult your doctor before attempting any mold  cleanup yourself.

Should I test my  home for mold? Your first step should be to inspect your home for any  evidence of water damage and any visible mold growth. Testing for mold  is expensive, and you should have a clear reason for doing so. However,  the resulting lab report from air samplings and/or tape liftings will  determine the spread of contaminants, establish the scope of work, and  create a baseline. Wize Home Inspections collects samples (air samples,  tape lifts, etc.) for mold testing, which are sent to an independent  testing lab.

Who do I call to deal with extensive mold growth?  It is important to correct large mold problems as soon as possible by  first fixing the source of the moisture problem, then constructing  containment barriers in the affected areas, removing the contaminated  materials, cleaning the surfaces, and finally drying the area. Most  remediation companies before they proceed with any mold remediation  project, will require that you obtain an inspection, air samples and/or tape lifts etc,  and a lab report. This is for your protection, and ours. You will know  if you truly have a problem, and you will know which mold species, if  any, you are going to be dealing with. There is a wrong way and a right  way to safely remove mold. If done improperly, mold contamination could  be spread throughout the entire building, putting the current occupants,  and any future occupants, at risk.


WORRIED about mold in your home or workplace? Contact us TODAY for an inspection and evaluation of your situation.

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Wize Home Inspections

252 Waterford Dr., Bonaire, GA 31005, US

(478) 662-0149

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