Mold is a type of fungus that is present in our natural environment. Mold spores, which are tiny microscopic ‘seeds’, can be found virtually everywhere, including in homes, and are a part of the general dust found in homes. These spores can grow on building materials and furnishings if conditions are correct. Excess moisture is the critical factor in any indoor mold problem. Mold growth should not be tolerated in our homes. Eventually, the moisture and mold will damage what it is growing on, which may include both the building materials and personal belongings. The key to preventing mold growth is to prevent moisture problems.
Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce. Mold spores infiltrate through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs
IHC, Corp. is a leader in performing mold and related biological contamination assessments and environmental sampling. IHC, Corp. collects samples from all mediums (air, HVAC equipment, carpet, floors, walls, etc.) for analysis of a wide range of potential biological contaminants, depending on site-specific circumstances. The reasons to conduct a mold or bacterial related evaluation may be due to water damage, sewage backflows, flooding, hurricane damage, occupant complaints, visual mold growth contamination within a building, storm damage, etc. Examples of typical analysis available include culturable and non-culturable fungi (mold and yeast), bacteria including special cases such as E.coli, Legionella and Mycobacterium, common allergens such as dust mites, cat, dog and cockroach; and endotoxins, to name those most often analyzed. Analyses are obtained from laboratories that participate in the Environmental Microbiology Accredited Laboratories Program (EMLAP) administered by the American Industrial Hygiene Association. IHC, Corp. has conducted thousands of investigations in a wide array of environments including office buildings, schools, hospitals and medical practices, veterinary establishments, hotels, and individual residences.
Ten Things You Should Know About Mold (Published by the USEPA)
1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.
2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
6. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
7. 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.
8. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
9. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
10. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.