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 of any kind should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny, microscopic spores that float in the air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet or retain moisture.
Molds do 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 can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such a sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions are common and can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposures can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold allergic and non-allergic people.
It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors since some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and resolve the moisture problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t resolve the moisture problem, then, most likely the mold problem will come back.
Common causes of mold in your home include, but are not limited to:
- Improperly vented attics. Properly vented attics are equipped with ridge and/or gable vents and unobstructed sot vents.
- Improperly vented bathrooms and vents that are not terminated outside the building envelop.
- Areas with high relative humidity such as basements and crawl spaces.
- Storm or flooding when interior building materials are water damaged and are not dried out properly within 24-48 hours.
Molds can gradually destroy the things they grow on. You can prevent damage to your home and furnishings, save money, and avoid potential health problems by controlling moisture and eliminating mold growth!