F A Q

 

(INTERNACHI)

International Association of Certified Home Inspectors says:

 

"EVERY HOME SHOULD BE TESTED FOR MOLD"

 

According to Dr. John D. Shane, Vice President of Laboratory services of PRO-LAB millions of homes across America have hidden water leaks that are promoting mold growth that can expose homeowners to mold spores.  Mold has a potential to cause health problems like allergies, irritation (to lungs, eyes, skin, throat, nose) and are potentially toxic.  Inhaling and touching mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals and normally healthy individuals may become sensitive to mold after exposure.

The EPA states that, "It is important to take precautions to limit your exposure to mold and mold spores. Avoid breathing in mold or mold spores". The EPA also recommends that if you suspect you have a hidden mold problem you should consider hiring an experienced professional to avoid exposure to potentially massive doses of mold spores.

Mold damages what it grows on. The longer it grows the more damage it can cause. If there is a mold problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly.  Mold can be hidden, growing on the water from a hidden leak, and can develop into a potentially large problem if not caught in time.

Testing your home on a regular basis is a prudent way to prevent small problems from growing into a costly and unhealthy situation, and always avoid exposing yourself and others to mold.

 

What is mold?

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.

 

Why is mold growing in my home?

Molds are part of the natural environment.  Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided.  Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air.  Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet.  There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

 

How does mold grow?

Mold needs water and food. It can grow almost anywhere there is water, high humidity, or damp conditions.

Mold grows faster in warm temperatures and high humidity.

Mold can feed on paper, fabric, wallpaper glue, sheetrock, wood, soap scum, leather, and many other surfaces. Its favorite food is "cellulose", and cellulose is in most all products.

 

Molds are part of the natural environment.  Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided.  Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air.  Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet.  There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

 

Can mold cause health problems?

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.  Molds have the potential to cause health problems.  Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins).  Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis).  Allergic reactions to mold are common.  They can be immediate or delayed.  Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold.  In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.  Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold.  Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.  This brochure provides a brief overview; it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure.  For more detailed information consult a health professional.  You may also wish to consult your state or local health department

 

What are the health effects of mold?

Some people are allergic to molds.

Mold exposure may cause or worsen asthma symptoms, hay fever, or other allergies.

The most common symptoms of mold exposure are upper respiratory: cough, congestion, runny nose, and trouble breathing. Symptoms usually disappear after the mold contamination is removed.

 

Should I see a doctor if I have been exposed to mold?

If you think that you or your children have symptoms related to mold exposure, you should see a doctor. Keep in mind that many symptoms associated with mold exposure are also caused by many other illnesses. Having the home tested is the best way to find out if there are Mold spores in the air. Interstate Mold Inspection  uses a testing system called an  "Air Cell" to capture whatever is in the air in a certain room or area and then a lab analysis is performed. This could be skin cells, pet hair, dust, pollen and Mold spores among others.

 

How can mold be prevented?

The best way is to remove water and moisture sources. Fixing leaks, drying damp areas, and removing humidity from the air (e.g., using a dehumidifier in basements; opening a window while taking a shower in bathrooms with no exhaust ventilation) will help stop mold growth and keep it from coming back.

 

How can I safely clean mold in my home?

Wear gloves and protective garments. Use soap and water to clean small areas of mold, on walls or other hard surfaces as soon as you see it, then completely dry the area. Throw away cleaning rags "do not wash". Larger areas call a professional.

Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of mold spores will remain - these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced.   

 

If large areas of mold are present, you may need a professional mold abatement company, Call Interstate Mold Inspection to inspect and we will recommend a qualified mold remediation company.