When the right conditions exist, mold is able to grow and prosper. Mold is a fungus that reproduces by creating small spores that work like seeds. Mold requires water, oxygen and favorable temperatures. Mold gets it’s nutrients from wood, paper, fabrics, paints and adhesives, basically any dead organic material. When the humidity is about 70 percent, mold will grow. Also indoor temperatures is an conducive environment for mold.
Molds are decomposers of organic material. Mold spores can travel through the air or on people, animals or objects. The home can also be the source of mold if there is high humidity or if materials in the home have been exposed to water.
The biggest problem for humans regarding being exposed to molds is allergies and asthma. Some molds can cause infections in humans who have a compromised immune system. Also, there are molds that produce powerful chemicals called mycotoxins that can produce a serious illness in humans and animals. Children under the age of one year are more susceptible to mold exposure and it’s harmful effects. Some experts have claimed that individuals have died or had brain damage as a result of exposure to mold and mold toxins.
The less air exchange between the inside and outside air can build more moisture in the air. Therefore, the moisture can get into the walls and building materials in the home and thus cause mold to grow. Exhaust fans should be installed in bathrooms and kitchens as well as clothes dryer vents vented to the outside to prevent unwanted moisture in the air. Controlled ventilation that intentionally introduces outside air into a dwelling can greatly reduce humidity which will decrease the probability of mold growth.
First, someone can test for mold by using their noses and using their eyes. If you notice a black or green discoloration in a spot where there is a lot of moisture, it’s almost certainly mold. Also, if the building smells musty, there is most likely mold present. Air sampling is a way to test for mold. Air sampling is a snapshot of what is in the air and you can test to see if mold spores are present. Surface testing is another way to test for mold. Samples are collected by swabbing, tape lifting or other methods. The sample is then examined in a laboratory. A third way to test for mold, is bulk testing. This involves collecting pieces of material from the home. The material is then taken to a laboratory where mold particles on the material can then be examined under a microscope.
When dealing with mold, it is always best to contact a specialist. Mold can be very tricky to remove and it can be dangerous for your health. It requires use of chemicals and the training and knowledge of a hired professional to properly take care it. Remember, it is important to stop the cause of the moisture problem. Otherwise, the mold problem will return.
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