HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW ABOUT MOLD?

September is Mold Awareness Month. Mold is a problem we think about but hope to never experience. It is a fungus that can grow almost anywhere, indoors or outdoors. The approximately 100,000 species of mold that exist all share the same basic characteristics: the need for oxygen, moisture and nutrients to grow. Indoor wood, wallboard, wallpaper, upholstery and dust can be excellent nutrient sources.

Although mold can grow almost anywhere, it grows best in damp, warm conditions. Molds spread and reproduce by making spores, which are small and lightweight. They are able to travel through air, can resist dry, adverse environmental conditions and are capable of surviving a long time.

People are exposed to mold through skin contact, inhalation or ingestion, which may cause mild to severe allergic reactions, depending on a person’s sensitivity. Living under conditions where high mold levels are present can be dangerous. Not only can mold cause adverse health effects, but left unattended, it will continuously grow and can damage and destroy whatever material it comes into contact with.

Mold can start to grow in as little as 48 hours, so it’s important to act fast after water damage to help prevent mold from growing and spreading.

Here are some answers to questions that you might have regarding mold: MOLD QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: How can I tell if I have mold?

A: If you see mold growth or water stains, a mold test can help identify related microbial activity. You can also look for areas where water leakage has occurred, such as roofs, pipes or walls. Musty smells may also indicate the presence of mold.

Q: When does mold need to be handled by a professional remediation company?

A:  Most experts recommend a professional when elevated mold levels are detected. Remediation professionals are specifically trained to isolate and treat mold-affected areas to avoid contaminating adjacent spaces.

Q: What can I do to prevent the growth of mold in my home?

A: The most effective ways to keep mold in check include: keeping the humidity level of your home at 40-60 percent, using an air conditioner and or/dehumidifier during humid months and in damp spaces like basements can help. Always utilize exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens. Lastly, if there are leaks in your roof, walls or pipes it is important to repair them as soon as possible

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5508a1.htm