Mold: what is it?
Mold is very large group of microscopic fungi organisms that can produce spores that are often air or water borne. Of the estimated 250,000 species of mold most are harmless but certain types are known to be dangerous and classified as “toxic mold.” The most common forms of toxic molds in homes are stachybotrys, penicillium, aspergillus, cladosporium, memnoniella, and alternaria. Exposure to high levels of toxic mold can cause severe health effects including asthma, headaches, nausea, vomiting and a wide variety of other ailments depending on the particular health disposition of the individual. The very young and elderly and those with lung ailments like asthma and even HIV are especially vulnerable to mold.
Where can it be found?
Mold can be found anywhere or inside the home or work environment. Toxic mold is often found in “sick” homes or buildings caused by excessive levels of humidity and moisture from leaks, floods or often a lack of property ventilation. Marijuana grow ops are often extreme examples of mold contamination because of the high humidity levels and decaying plant matter found in them.
What can be done about it:
Prevention! The best way to prevent mold growth is to provide adequate ventilation in the home, especially where moisture is present. Also ensure that any leaks or other means for moisture or water to enter the home are repaired and sealed. If you have a damp basement using a dehumidifier is highly advisable. Mold needs approximately 60% relative humidity to grow. If your home floods it’s key to respond quickly, often using a flood restoration contractor to remove all water moisture and contaminated debris and clean and sterilize the area. Mold will begin growing in the right conditions in approximately 48 hours. If you have a serious mold problem it is highly recommended that you seek advice from a mold remediation contractor. Often attempts to clean the mold without proper knowledge and tools can spread mold spores and cause ill health effects. Do not clean mold with bleach as it can damage your lungs.
Please see our blog for more information on mold.