WHAT ARE MOLDS AND WHERE DO THEY GROW?
Molds are like most fungi, they break down plant and animal matter within the environment. Molds can grow almost anywhere that there is moisture. Mold can also grow on organic substances such as in soil, on foods, plants, but also in people’s homes. To reproduce, molds release spores. These spores can spread through air, water, or even on animals.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PREVENT MOLD GROWTH IN MY HOME?
The key to preventing the growth of mold is to identify and control water/moisture problems. Mold spores naturally occur everywhere, including your home. Mold is capable of growing on any surface that has enough moisture.
Here are some common sources of moisture:
- Indoor plumbing leaks
- Roof leaks
- Outdoor drainage problems
- Damp basements
- Damp crawl spaces
- Steam coming from a bathroom or kitchen
- Condensation on cool surfaces
- Wet clothes drying inside the home
- A clothes dryer venting indoors
- Bad ventilation of heating and cooking appliances
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A MOLD PROBLEM?
You can usually see or smell a mold problem. Most molds produce musty odors, which are the first indication of a mold problem. Mold can look discolored, slightly fuzzy, or appear as slimy patches that tend to increase in size as they grow. It is important to know that mold can grow anywhere there is adequate moisture, or water problem. The best way to find mold is to follow your nose to the source of the odor. Also, try to look for signs of water staining, and signs of warping. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces including carpets, cabinets, wallpaper, and walls.
There are certain areas of the home that have a high susceptibility to mold growth. These areas should be a part of routine cleaning to help control mold growth:
- Bathrooms, especially shower stalls, bathroom tiles, and shower curtains
- Window moldings
- Surfaces on and around air conditioners
- Seals on the refrigerator door
CAN MOLD MAKE MY FAMILY SICK?
Mold spores are naturally occurring and always found in the air we breathe. Extensive mold exposure may cause health problems. Breathing in mold can cause allergic and respiratory symptoms for certain people. However, it is hard to quantify how much mold will cause health problems because some people are more sensitive to mold than others. Always discuss your health concerns with your doctor, because the symptoms of mold exposure could possibly be caused by other exposures and illnesses.
People who may be more susceptible to health problems from mold exposure include:
- Current respiratory conditions such as allergies, asthma, or emphysema…
- Compromised immune system such as HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant patients, or chemotherapy patients…