Having an understanding of indoor mold is critical when one is faced with mold problems. Here we bring you 12 things you must know about mold.
12 Things You Must Know About Mold
- All molds are potentially a health hazard. Mold exposure symptoms include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints. Some of the indoor molds that have the potential to cause health problems including Alternaria, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys (black mold).
- Reaction to mold varies from individual to individual. However, those most susceptible to mold exposure include young children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and persons with pre-existing respiratory problems.
- Mold spores are everywhere and it’s practically impossible to eliminate all of them from indoors. The only way to control mold growth in the indoor environment is to control moisture.
- Mold can cause health problems even if it is dead. That is why mold removal is recommended instead of just killing it using chemicals and leaving it indoors.
- If mold is a problem in your home or office, you must have it removed and the moisture problem fixed.
- Reducing indoor humidity controls mold growth. EPA recommends reducing humidity by:
- Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
- Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
- Increasing ventilation
- Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
- Drying water damaged building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours prevents mold growth.
- Porous moldy materials such as ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpets cannot be effectively cleaned and therefore should be replaced after fixing the moisture problem. If the moisture problem is not resolved, the mold growth will return.
- Condensation on cold surfaces is a major cause of mold growth. Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
- Molds can grow on virtually any organic substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, fabrics, leather and foods.
- Molds can grow undetected inside wall spaces, under carpet, and inside HVAC systems. Air sampling may help detect hidden mold.
- Cleanup of large areas of mold contamination can cause airborne spores to increase to levels resulting in acute mold exposure. Hiring a qualified mold removal company is recommended since they have the tools and experience required to prevent the spread of airborne mold spores throughout the house.
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Dr. Jackson Kung’u is a Microbiologist who has specialized in the field of mycology (the study of moulds and yeasts). He is a member of the Mycological Society of America. He graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, with a Masters degree in Fungal Technology and a PhD in Microbiology. He has published several research papers in international scientific journals. Jackson has analyzed thousands of mould samples from across Canada. He also regularly teaches a course on how to recognize mould, perform effective sampling and interpret laboratory results. Jackson provides how-to advice on mould and bacteria issues.
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