About Mold

Many people hate to hear the word mold in connection with their homes or offices. Mold and mildew is classified as fungi, a common part of everyday dust. There are literally hundreds of types of molds that exist naturally throughout the world. However, high concentrations of mold spores exposures can lead to adverse health effects in certain individuals.

Unlike plants, fungi cannot produce it own nutrients through photosynthesis. Molds grow best in warm, damp and humid conditions. Mold and mildew both reproduce by tiny spores that require moisture and nutrients to grow. Mold spores drift through the air continually and can survive harsh, dry conditions that do not support normal mold growth. Mold spores will often land on wet indoor surfaces and begin to grow by digesting the wet material.

Common Indoor Molds include:

  • Cladosporium
  • Penicillium
  • Alternaria
  • Aspergillus

Unfortunately, the condition of many buildings after water intrusion provides the perfect environment for molds to grow. Drywall, baseboards, cabinets and wood flooring all serve as nutritional sources for mold to flourish. Buildings contaminated with mold growth often require professional restoration by trained and properly licensed individuals.

How can mold affect people?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, many people have adverse reactions when they come into contact with molds. Exposure to high concentrations of mold, through inhalation or contact, can produce disease in many ways. Removal or disruption of mold contaminated building materials can cause individuals to be in contact with large mold spore concentrations.

Health problems associated with indoor mold exposure range from:

  • Headaches
  • Skin and eye irritation
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Respiratory problems including Asthma
  • Lung Infection (for persons with preexisting lung diseases)

In a 2004 study, the Institute of Medicine found sufficient evidence to link indoor mold exposure to upper respiratory tract infections and many other symptoms in otherwise healthy individuals. Individuals with chronic lung illness can develop mold infections.

Since every person reacts differently to mold exposure, it is best to consider all molds in any building as potentially dangerous and most likely be properly remediated by a qualified restoration contractor. Mold spores (the seed-like structures that mold are germinated from) are very hard to kill. Many people experience re-growth of mold after they treat the areas with mold killing sprays like Tilex or bleach.

What are molds?

Molds are tiny microscopic organisms that digest organic matter and reproduce by releasing spores. Molds are a type of fungi and there are over 100,000 species. In nature, mold helps decompose or break-down leaves, wood and other plant debris. Molds become a problem when they go where they are not wanted and digest materials such as our homes.

What makes mold grow in my home?

Mold enters your home as tiny spores. The spores need moisture to begin growing, digesting and destroying. Molds can grow on almost any surface, such as wood, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, paints, carpet, sheet rock, and insulation. The mold grows best when there is lots of moisture from a leaky roof, high humidity, or flood. There is no way to get rid of all molds and mold spores from your home. But you can control mold growth by keeping your home dry.

Can I be exposed to mold?

When molds are disturbed, they release spores into the air. You can be exposed by breathing air containing these mold spores. You can also be exposed through touching moldy items, eating moldy food or accidental hand to mouth contact.

When is mold a problem?

You know you have mold when you smell the “musty” odor or see small black or white specks along your damp bathroom or basement walls. Some mold is hidden growing behind wall coverings or ceiling tiles. Even dry, dead mold can cause health problems, so always take precautions when you suspect mold.

Mold is often found in areas where water has damaged building materials and furniture from flooding or plumbing leaks. Mold can also be found growing along walls where warm moist air condenses on cooler wall surfaces, such as inside cold exterior walls, behind dressers, headboards, and in closets where articles are stored against walls. Mold often grows in rooms with both high water usage and humidity, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements. If you notice mold or know of water damaged areas in your home, it is time to take action to control its growth.

Can I control mold growth in my home?

Yes you can. Dry out the house and fix any moisture problems in your home:

  • Stop water leaks, repair leaky roofs and plumbing. Keep water away from concrete slabs and basement walls.
  • Open windows and doors to increase air flow in your home, especially along the inside of exterior walls. Use a fan if there are no windows available.
  • Make sure that warm air flows into all areas of the home. Move large objects a few inches away from the inside of exterior walls to increase air circulation.
  • Install and use exhaust fans in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
  • Ventilate and insulate attic and crawl spaces. Use heavy plastic to cover earth floors in crawl spaces.
  • Clean and dry water damaged carpets, clothing, bedding, and upholstered furniture within 24 to 48 hours, or consider removing and replacing damaged furnishings.
  • Vacuum and clean your home regularly to remove mold spores.
  • Check around your windows for signs of condensation and water droplets. Wipe them up right away so mold can’t start to grow.

What type of doctor should I see concerning mold exposure?

You should first consult a family or general health care provider who will decide whether you need referral to a specialist. Such specialists might include an allergist who treats patients with mold allergies or an infectious disease physician who treats mold infections. If an infection is in the lungs, a pulmonary physician might be recommended. Patients who have been exposed to molds in their workplace may be referred to an occupational physician. CDC is not a clinical facility. CDC does not see patients, diagnose illness, provide treatment, prescribe medication, or provide referrals to health care providers.

This website was developed primarily to provide general information about mold and services offered by DOODLEBUGGERS SERVICE NETWORK with respect to mold inspections, mold testing, and other indoor environmental testing. This site is not intended to be a resource for medical advice or information concerning health matters. The information being disseminated in this site is believed by DOODLEBUGGERS SERVICE NETWORK to be the most recent and most reliable information available at the time. Neither DOODLEBUGGERS SERVICE NETWORK nor its principles or employees warrants all of the information contained herein to be 100% factual. For proper medical advice you should always consult a physician or other qualified expert.

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