Mold, Health Effects and Your Home

Molds are found everywhere. Molds are found both in outdoor and indoor environments. Fungi in nature are here to break down organic materials. Mold spores are very tiny and can easily travel throughout the air. When mold attach themselves to organic matter such as drywall they take on a variety of different colors. Fungi can be black, brown, white or green. The issue is when fungi are present in large quantities they can cause health concerns such as allergic reactions and respiratory problems.

When contamination is severe. When spores are air born and are present in large numbers, they can cause respiratory reactions, asthma, infections, and other health problems in individuals. Mold allergy can also develop with prolonged exposures. Mold can also cause damage in homes. Just as in nature molds can break down wood members and other structural components.

Spores are found in homes and can be seen growing on damp surfaces. All people are exposed to molds everyday and usually without harm. Mold spores can create health issues when they are inhaled in very large numbers. However, in some people even exposure to a small amount of mold can cause health problems. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see mold or smell mold steps should be taken to remove it. It is known that young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to the health risks associated with mold exposures.

Certain species of fungi produce toxins called mycotoxins. These toxins can be found in both living and non-living mold spores. Exposure to mycotoxins may present a significant hazard than that of allergenic or just irritative fungi. Mycotoxins have been found in homes, agricultural settings, food, and work settings.

If there is visible mold in your home or if musty or moldy odors are present most likely you have a problem in your home. Look for water damage that has occurred in the past. Look for discoloration and water staining on interior walls and surfaces. If you see mold on an interior wall there is a good probability that there is hidden fungi in the wall cavity.

If you do detect musty or moldy conditions you should have your home tested for molds. A mold inspector will look for visible signs of water infiltration and mold. The mold inspector will also be able to provide an action plan for preventing future mold growth. Usually this is done by taking action to limit or stop water infiltration in the home. This can be from ground water and also from interior sources such as plumbing leaks.

The mold inspector will provide mold testing. Mold testing will include air sampling and surface sampling. Air sampling will allow you to discover the type of molds in the home air and the toxicity of the mold. It is important to know what types of molds are present in the air so you can decide what remediation measures are needed to control the problem. Surface sampling will also be able to determine what types of molds exists on the interior surfaces where molds are visible. Once the types and toxicity of the mold is established measures can be taken to eliminate it. Sometimes clean up can be performed by the homeowner if a mild contamination exists. Other times a professional mold abatement company needs to be contracted in order to clean up a major mold contamination.

Do your do diligence too limit moisture conditions in the home. If you do have mold have proper testing performed and take the necessary action in order to protect you and your family from its health effects.

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