By Justin Gallagher
Mold is a naturally-occurring type of fungus, and it is a simple fact that wherever people live, you will find microscopic mold spores. They are part of the normal dust circulating through the air, and can grow in our homes, schools, and workplaces if conditions are favorable. The critical factor for excess mold growth is excess moisture: control moisture, and you will control mold.
While not all mold is entirely harmful–penicillin can be extracted from mold cultures on cantaloupe or bread–by and large, it is destructive to buildings, belongings, and general health, and the spread of mold should not be allowed where people live or work. In addition to rotting away wood and other building materials, mold is proven to be hazardous to people with conditions such as allergies. Even people without particular health issues have reported sinus problems, eye and skin irritation, and wheezing after being exposed to mold.
If your home or building has endured any water, flood, storm or sewage damage, get a professional mold or bacterial-related examination. Do not wait for occupant complaints or visible mold growth. Professionals have the authority to carrying out mold, associated biological hazard evaluations, and environmental sampling. They gather specimens from air, carpet, floors, walls and other sources to test for any biological contamination possible at that specific site, and under the particular circumstances. They check for mold and yeast, dangerous bacteria (including E.coli, Legionella, and Mycobacterium), allergens and endotoxins.
Finally, remember these key facts about mold and how to fight it:
1. Mold is pervasive; spores can grow on almost anything as long as moisture is present.
2. Mold and mold spores cannot be eliminated, but their spread can be controlled by eliminating the excess moisture that allows them to grow.
3. Mold exposure is proven to be a health risk; it can aggravate asthma and often triggers allergic reactions.
4. If mold is growing on your property, you must remove it, regulate humidity, and reduce sources of excess moisture.
5. Fixing leaks promptly will help prevent mold from finding a home.
6. Indoor humidity is mold’s friend. Reduce it 30 to 60 percent by using air conditioners, de-humidifiers, and vent or exhaust fans in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens.
7. If building materials or furnishings get wet–even damp–they must be cleaned and dried within 24 to 48 hours.
8. Hard surfaces can be stripped of mold with detergent and water, then dried thoroughly. If ceiling tiles are made of absorbent material and show signs of mold growth, they should be replaced.
9. Adding insulation to your pipes, windows, floors, roof, and exterior walls will help prevent condensation when these surfaces get cold.
10. Do not install carpet where moisture is a constant issue (such as bathrooms, near sinks, drinking fountains, or areas with leaks or prone to condensation).