In the past few years, the topic of “mold” has been broadcast across the evening news, newspapers and the Internet often linking the material with condemned buildings, employee illnesses and long-term health effects. Many have referred to mold as the modern day asbestos and it certainly has gotten the attention of the insurance companies. While the long-term effects of mold exposure are not truly known at this time, it is known that individual reactions to molds vary greatly. According to experts, adverse reactions to a mold usually subside quickly when a person leaves an area that contains mold. Typically, such reactions are allergic in nature, rarely becoming serious. Just as severe human reactions to mold are rare, molds that can be considered toxic are also rare.
Mold is a naturally occurring, living organism that produces tiny spores to reproduce. Mold spores continually drift through indoor and outdoor air. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, 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 from the indoor environment but to control moisture.
The key to mold control is moisture control.
It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home or business, clean it up and remove excess moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry completely. Absorbent materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, that become moldy may need to be replaced.
Ten Things You Should Know About Mold:
- Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
- There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores from the indoor environment. The way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
- If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate the sources of the moisture.
- Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
- Reduce indoor humidity (30-60 percent) to decrease mold growth by venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and dehumidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning.
- Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles that are moldy may need to be replaced.
- Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof or floors) by adding insulation.
- In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., near drinking fountains, by classroom sinks or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
- Molds can be found almost anywhere and can grow on virtually any substance (wood, paper, carpet and foods) as long as moisture is present.
Bill Glaze is a senior project manager with August Mack Environmental, Inc. in the Dublin, Ohio office. He has more than 15 years experience with extensive knowledge regarding environmental site assessments and facility audits, remediation system design, and installation and underground storage tank and aboveground storage tank investigations and removal/closures. Bill can be reached at 614.798.9922 or via e-mail at email@example.com
Other Articles In This Issue: