1. Everyone is exposed to mold. Thousands of species of mold, a fungi of varying colors, grow both indoors and outdoors. Molds produce microscopic spores that spread through the air we breathe. Often a musty odor indicates the presence of mold.
2. Most indoor mold comes from the outside. Microscopic mold spores in the air outside can be carried indoors on clothing, shoes, bags and pets. Spores can enter through doorways, windows, vents and heating and air conditioning systems. Normally, you can’t do too much about this. However …
3. Mold requires moisture and food to grow. So, look for places in your home that contain moisture. Do you have a leaky roof, moisture around windows or sweaty pipes? Has there been flooding in your area? For food, mold grows well on paper, cardboard, ceiling tile and wood products. It can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric and upholstery.
4. The health effects of mold are not well understood. But this we know: Small amounts of mold growth (mildew on a shower curtain) are not a major concern. Even so, no mold should be allowed to grow and multiply indoors. Large quantities of mold can cause nuisance odors and health problems, though many symptoms can be eliminated by correcting the mold problem.
- Allergic reactions and irritation (similar to common pollen or animal allergies).
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Skin rash.
- Asthma aggravation.
- Fungal infections (in rare cases) may occur in people with serious immune disease.
People who are most susceptible to mold’s negative health effects:
- Infants and children.
- The elderly.
- Pregnant women.
- Individuals with respiratory conditions or allergies and asthma, and those with weakened immune systems (for example, chemotherapy patients, organ or bone marrow transplant recipients, and people with HIV infections or autoimmune diseases).
5. THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP is to identify and address the moisture sources causing the mold growth. Small mold problems can be remedied by washing mold off of hard surfaces with detergent and water, and then drying the surface completely. Replace moldy porous or absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles, wallboard, and carpeting). If mold is not visible but a musty odor is present mold could be growing behind water-damaged materials, such as walls, carpeting, or wallpaper.
For large mold problems, your best solution is to hire only a professional experienced in mold evaluation and remediation. They will first fix the source of the moisture problem and remove contaminated materials, and then clean and dry the surfaces completely. Advanced Restorations Services (our qualifications) is an IIRC Certified Firm and a member of RIA, both recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.