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How it affects your health
MOLD & MOISTURE
Molds are a major source of indoor allergens. Molds can also trigger asthma. Even when dead or unable to grow, mold can cause health effects such a allergic reactions.
Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on and within wood, paper, carpet and foods. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings, homes or on materials used in those homes, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
Molds are a major source of indoor allergens. Molds can also trigger asthma. Even when dead or unable to grow, mold can cause health effects such a allergic reactions. The types and severity of health effects associated with exposure to mold depend, in part, on the type of mold present, and the extent of the occupants’ exposure and existing sensitivities or allergies. Prompt and effective remediation of moisture problems is essential to minimize potential mold exposures and their potential health effects.
For additional information concerning mold types and health concerns, go to www.epa.gov
SIGNS OF MOLD Contamination
A home or building may have a mold contamination or mold infestation problem, if one or more of the following mold signs or mold clues is present—
- One or more occupants is suffering from unexplained heath problems such as an ongoing bloody nose, sinus problems, headaches, nose congestion, runny nose, eyes-burning, watery eyes, reddened and blurry eyes, skin rashes, skin sores, coughing, dry hacking cough, sore throat, nose and throat irritation, breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, aches and pains, possible fever, difficulty in remembering things and in thinking clearly, feeling disconnected from the world around you, chronic fatigue, and the many other mold symptoms explained in the mold and health section on the EPA web site. Some occupants may have health symptoms, while others may have none. People differ significantly in their sensitivity to mold.
- One or more occupants smell mold inside the home, office or other buildings. If you can smell mold there is a definite mold problem somewhere in the building.
- When you see mold growth anywhere inside the home or building, whether in or on the building or it contents.
- Home or building organic or cellulose construction materials (wood, drywall, etc.) that have been wet for more than 24 hours from a flood, roof leak, water pipe leak or break, etc.
- During some or all of the year, the relative humidity inside the home or building exceeds 60%, thus providing enough moisture from the air to facilitate mold growth.
- The home or building is located close to heavy plant or tree growth that facilitates the entry of airborne mold spores into the building through air movement through windows and doors, or close to a river, pond, lake, ocean, or other body of water, a physical location conductive to high humidity and mold growth.
Who’s at greatest risk?
- Infants and children
- The Elderly
- Immune compromised patients (people with HIV infection, cancer chemotherapy, liver
- Pregnant women
- Individuals with existing respiratory conditions, such as allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity and asthma.
MOLD & TESTING INSPECTION
- Hire a certified mold Inspector
- Do any of the residents of the home or building suffer from any mold symptoms as listed above? This is a definite sign of mold so test everywhere to find the source.
- Are the shrubs, trees and other plants growing to close to the building?
- Airborne mold spores from the air could be entering the home or building.
- Is the Roof in Good repair. Roof leaks are a prime source of mold infestation.
- Are there water stains or mold growth in the attic, at the roof joists, beneath the insulation? Mold cannot eat fiberglass but it can eat the paper covering it.
- The bathrooms, kitchen and the laundry rooms are a prime source of possible mold problems. Anywhere water is present mold could be present. Check for physical signs of mold growth or evidence of water intrusion.
- Are there water stains, water damage areas or suspicious discoloration in any rooms, ceilings, walls, floors, basements, crawl spaces, storage rooms, under the steps, in the garage and on furniture.
- Is there hidden moisture behind walls or ceilings? Certified Mold Inspectors have moisture meters that can look behind and inside walls.
- Has the property ever experience a roof leak, pipe leak, water leak, flood or any water intrusion?
- Is the humidity level of the crawl space, basement, attic or any room of the home or building higher than 60% humidity? Certified Home inspectors use a digital hygrometer to test each area of the building.
- Are there unhealthy mold spores in the air in any rooms in the building? Air samples must be taken in all suspected rooms.
- Is there mold contamination inside the building’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system and or ducts? Samples must be taken here.
Send all mold samples to a certified mold testing laboratory for analysis and results.
*When remediation is necessary only use a Certified and licensed mold remediation company to do the work.
*Do not forget to test again for mold after the remediation work has been completed.