What is Mold?
Molds are microscopic organisms
found virtually everywhere, indoors, and outdoors. Mold spores are tiny,
lightweight, and easily detached by airflow, vacuuming, walking on a carpet or
sitting on a couch. In indoor environments, they grow in air-conditioning ducts,
carpets, pots of household plants, etc. They produce and release millions of
spores, which are small enough to stay airborne threatening to invade the human
respiratory system. Mold growths can often be seen in the form of discoloration,
ranging from white to orange and from green to brown and black. In large
quantities, molds can cause allergic symptoms
similar to those caused by plant
pollen. In order for mold to grow, it needs food sources (such as leaves, wood,
paper, or dirt), a source of moisture, and a place to grow.
|Different Types of Mold|
Allergenic molds are normally not dangerous in low amounts, but they can cause allergenic or asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing or runny nose. These molds can be abated safely with the assistance of gloves and a disposable particulate-removing respirator.
molds can cause serious health effects in
humans and animals. Health effects range from short-term irritation to
immunosuppression to cancer and even death. If any toxic molds are
identified, it is suggested that you seek advice from an Industrial
Hygienist or other mold professional for guidance. The average homeowner
should NOT attempt the abatement of these types of mold.
molds can cause serious health effects in persons with suppressed immune
systems, those taking chemotherapy, those with HIV/AIDS, or autoimmunity
disorders. If any pathogenic molds are identified, it is suggested you seed
the advice of an Industrial Hygienist or other mold professional for
guidance. The average homeowner should NOT attempt the abatement of these
types of mold.
Hyphae & hyphal elements refer to
single, unidentifiable fragments of mold. Although they may not be traceable
to a specific mold species, the fragments themselves may be responsible for
allergic reactions in some people and may indicate previous or current
growth event. Smut spores are agricultural spores from outside sources.
Ascospores and basidiospores are clusters of spores that may not be easily
identified as per specific species, but may still represent f mold problem
in the home.
|How do you come in contact with mold?|
Mold spores are found in all homes and offices,
and grow rapidly from excess humidity. The following are some sources of
indoor moisture that may cause mold problems in a home or office: flooding,
leaky roofs, humidifiers, damp basements or crawl spaces, constant plumbing
leaks, house plants, steam from cooking, shower/bath steam and leaks, wet
clothes, bathroom towels, pets, sweaty sneakers indoors, dirty HVAC systems,
spilled liquids on carpeted surfaces and clothes dryers vented indoors.
|What can mold do to you?|
to mold is not healthy for anyone but the following individuals are at a
higher risk for adverse health effects: infants, children, elderly, immune
compromised patients, pregnant women, and individuals with existing
respiratory conditions. When inhaled, even in small amounts, mold can cause
a wide range of health problems including respiratory problems (wheezing),
nasal and sinus congestion, watery and red eyes, nose and throat irritation,
skin irritation, aches and pains, fevers, and in some cases even death.
|Causes of Indoor mold Growth|
|High moisture is the
major contributor to indoor microbiological activity (mold growth) . This is
due to nutrients for spore germination and growth being readily available in
most household constituents. These household constituents can be dirt, dust,
wood, paper, adhesives, acoustical fiber, paint textiles, stored material,
carpets, floors, and much more.
|Why Test for Mold?|
|Mold, the hitchhiker,
is being aggressively spread throughout the world by humans’ traveling and
living patterns. We have created millions of square feet of pristine living
conditions for molds and we pick up mold spores and bring them home with us
every day. All houses will harbor molds and some houses are friendlier to
molds than others. All houses need to be monitored for mold growth as part
of the maintenance procedures for the house. When any mold or mildew is
present, more will come. Only through inspection and testing can it be
determined if molds are present and if the subject property is showing signs
of mold and mildew friendliness.
|Allergies and sickness
due to indoor air quality issues are increasing dramatically. More than 5%
of all construction lumber manufactured each year in the United States is
used to replace wood that has decayed in service. Allergies and sickness due
to indoor air quality, damage to wood-frame buildings by mildew, mold,
staining fungi, and decay fungi is entirely preventable. The first step in
prevention is inspection and testing.
|Mold is a competitive species for real estate, molds live and prosper in the same environment as we do. The houses we live in are wonderful environments for mold. All houses need regular inspections for mold along with other periodic preventative maintenance inspections. Before fungi can colonize, four requirements must be met: air, livable temperature, moisture, and food. Humidity and water leaks are the cause of most mold infestations. Leaks being the easiest to spot are the first indications that mold may be present, however unusual activities may upset the humidity averages in the house and mechanical spaces and allow mold to establish itself.|