Mold is a fungal growth that develops on wet materials. Mold is a natural part of the environment and plays an important part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. However, indoor mold growth should be avoided. Recent estimates indicate that between 50% and 70% of US homes have indoor mold.
Mold only needs a damp, moist environment and organic material to establish itself and thrive. Roof and foundation leaks, high interior humidity, overflowing washing machines and other water events are common sources of moisture and are what causes mold in a house.
All molds produce allergens and irritants, and some molds also produce potentially toxic substances called mycotoxins. Immediate or delayed allergic reactions can be triggered by touching or breathing in mold or mold spores. In 1993, the Mayo Clinic reported that 93% of chronic sinus infections can be attributed to mold. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), mold exposure symptoms can include sneezing, nasal congestion or runny nose, wheezing and difficulty breathing, coughing, throat irritation, chest tightness, and skin rashes. Infants who are exposed to mold have nearly three times greater risk of becoming asthmatic than those who did not have extensive mold exposure in their first year of life.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people with asthma or other lung conditions—like chronic obstructive lung disorder (COPD)—should stay away from places where mold can be seen or smelled, even if they aren’t allergic to mold. The CDC also recommends that people with weakened immune systems—cancer patients on chemotherapy, those who have received an organ or stem cell transplant, and HIV patients—stay away from moldy areas.
The key to mold control is moisture control. If mold is a problem in your home, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture. For more serious mold problems, contact us to be connected to one of our remediation partners who have expertise in removal and mitigation of mold issues.