Mold Health Risks
Mold can be found everywhere you go, inside and outside. They can grow almost anywhere there is moisture and organic material such as in soil, on foods, plants, and in people’s homes. Mold plays an important ecological role in breaking down dead organic matter and returning nutrients to the environment. However, mold can become a health risk when exposed to large number of mold spores and can cause allergic symptoms such as watery eyes, running nose, sneezing, itching, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, headaches and fatigue. Certain molds, such as Stachybotrys and Aspergillus can produce toxins called mycotoxins which can cause serious illness.
To prevent mold growth it’s important to identify and control moisture and water problems. Mold will thrive on any surface that has the slightest amount of moisture.
Common sources of moisture are:
- Roof leaks
- Indoor plumbing leaks
- Damp basements and crawl spaces
- Improper installation of crawl space vapor barrier
- Areas with little ventilation
- Condensation on cool surfaces
- Steam from bathroom
- Exterior water drainage that drains towards house foundation
- Excessive storage
When looking around your house look for water staining, warping, or discoloration. Some areas such as bathrooms, shower stalls, bathroom tiles, under sinks, and window moldings are more susceptible to mold growth and should routinely cleaned.
Do you have a mold problem?
If you have high amounts of mold growth you can usually see or smell the mold. Mold appears as discolored, slightly fuzzy patches that increase in size as they grow. If you cannot see or smell the mold, your first indication of mold growth might be allergy like symptoms. Mold can be mistaken for soot, dust, house stains, and white deposits. The only way to properly identify mold is to have it tested and sent to an accredited lab.