Mold Remediation >> What Are Molds?

What are molds? Molds are microscopic organisms that live on plant or animal matter. They aid in the break down of dead material and recycle nutrients in the environment. Present virtually everywhere, they can be found growing on organic material such as soil, foods, and plant matter. In order to reproduce, molds produce spores, which spread through air, water, or What Are Molds? by insects. 

These spores act like seeds and can form new mold growth if the conditions are right. Why do molds grow? Mold will grow and multiply under the right conditions, needing only sufficient moisture (e.g., in the form of very high humidity, condensation, What Are Molds? or water from a leaking pipe, etc.), and organic material (e.g., ceiling tile, drywall, paper, or natural fiber carpet padding). 

Can mold become a problem in my home? Mold growth may occur in your home if there is sufficient moisture because mold spores are everywhere. Be on the lookout for these common sources of moisture: Flooding Roof leaks Plumbing leaks, What Are Molds? drainage problems Damp basements and crawl spaces Steam from the bathroom or kitchen 

Condensation resulting from poor or improper insulation or ventilation Humidifiers Wet clothes drying inside the home or a clothes dryer venting indoors Poor or improper ventilation of combustion appliances Indications of a moisture problem may include discoloration of the ceiling or walls, What Are Molds? warping of the floor, or condensation on the walls or windows. 

The key to preventing mold growth is to control all moisture problems. Should I be concerned about mold in my home? Mold can be a concern in the home What Are Molds? and should not be allowed to grow. Extensive mold contamination may cause health problems as well as damage to the home. Can mold make my family sick? Exposure to mold can cause health effects in some people. 

The most common effects are allergic responses from breathing mold spores. These allergic responses include hay fever or asthma What Are Molds? and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat or lungs. We usually cannot say how much mold is too much as our reactions to allergens can vary greatly depending on individual sensitivity. 

Allergic responses can come from exposure to dead as well as to living mold spores. Therefore, What Are Molds? killing mold with bleach and or other disinfectants may not prevent allergic responses. Less common effects of mold exposure include infections and toxic effects. Serious infections from living molds are relatively rare and occur mainly in people with severely suppressed immune systems. 

Many types of molds may produce toxins but only under certain growth conditions. Toxic effects have been reported from eating moldy grain, What Are Molds? but evidence is weak that breathing mold spores in buildings causes toxic effects. What are common symptoms of mold exposure? Allergy and irritation are the most common symptoms of mold exposure. 

Although symptoms will vary, What Are Molds? the most common symptoms seen in people exposed to mold indoors include: Nasal and sinus congestion Eye irritation, such as itchy, red, watery eyes Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing Cough Throat irritation Skin irritation, such as a rash Headache Who is most at risk for health problems from mold exposure? 

Exposure to high amounts of mold is not healthy for anyone, so obvious mold growth in the home should be cleaned up. However, What Are Molds? some individuals may be more susceptible to health problems from mold exposure. These include: Individuals with current respiratory sensitivities (e.g., allergies, asthma, or emphysema) 

Individuals with a compromised immune system (e.g., HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant patients, What Are Molds? or chemotherapy patients) Are some molds more harmful than others? Any extensive indoor mold growth should be treated as a potential health concern and removed as soon as practical no matter what species of mold is present. 

Identify and correct the source of moisture so that mold will not grow back. How do I know if I have a mold problem? A mold problem can usually be seen or smelled. Mold growth may often appear as slightly furry, What Are Molds? discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow. Molds also produce a musty odor that may be the first indication of a problem. 

The best way to find mold is to examine areas for visible signs of mold growth, water staining, or follow your nose to the source of the odor. If you can see or smell mold, you can assume you have a mold problem. Other clues include excess moisture and water damage. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and What Are Molds? walls. 

There are some areas What Are Molds? of the home that are always susceptible to mold growth and should be part of routine cleaning to keep them under control. They are seldom the cause of significant health effects. These are: The seal on the refrigerator door Shower curtains Window moldings Shower stalls and bathroom tiles Surfaces on and around air conditioners 

Should I have my home tested for mold? Sampling can be expensive. The results are also difficult to interpret partially because we have very limited information about what level of mold exposure is associated with health effects. In some cases, What Are Molds? knowing the type of mold that is present can be helpful, but for most cases, sampling is unnecessary. 

Overall, the best practice regardless of the type or amount of mold is to promptly clean up any mold growth in your home What Are Molds? and to correct the water problem that caused it. Cleaning Up Mold: How to get rid of it 1. The first step to mold cleanup is to control the moisture problem. The source of the water must be identified and corrected. 

Porous materials with extensive mold growth should be discarded (e.g., drywall, carpeting, paper, and ceiling tiles). 3. All wet materials must be thoroughly dried. If that is not possible, What Are Molds? they should be discarded. 4. Mold growing on hard surfaces (e.g. wood and concrete) can be cleaned. Small areas can be scrubbed with a cleaning rag wetted with diluted detergent. 

Rubber gloves and a dust mask are recommended for jobs other than routine cleaning. For a large mold problem What Are Molds? or if you are highly sensitive to mold, an experienced professional should do the work. 5. In areas where it is impractical to eliminate the moisture source, a 10% bleach solution can be used to keep mold growth under control. 

In areas that can be kept dry, bleach is not necessary, as mold cannot grow in the absence of moisture. When using bleach, What Are Molds? ensure that enough fresh air is available because bleach may cause eye, nose, or throat irritation. Continue to monitor the area for new mold growth and signs of moisture. This may indicate the need for further repairs or material removal. 

Additional clean up guidance available at: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Indoor Air - Mold New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, What Are Molds? Bureau of Environmental & Occupational Disease: Epidemiology Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments References: Center for Disease Control.

National Center for Environmental Health: Mold Website Minnesota Department of Health - Environmental Health in Minnesota: Mold and Moisture in Homes California Department of Health Services: Mold in My Home--What do I do? What Are Molds? New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene - Bureau of Environmental & Occupational Disease Epidemiology: Facts about Mold

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