As we begin September, Mold Awareness Month, we want to take a moment and review the basics about mold! Mold is a black, green, purple, white, or orange fungus that forms due to the presence of moisture. It can be found both in houses and outside of them. Mold reproduces through tiny spores. Once the tiny spores carried by air land on a moist surface, the mold multiplies and grows rapidly hence becoming harmful to human health. A person exposed to mold in large amounts is likely to suffer from respiratory diseases like asthma, sinus infection and lung disease.
Areas prone to flooding have a higher chance of mold growth because of water retained therein. Houses with leaking pipes and roofs and poor drainage provide conditions for fast multiplication of spore. In houses, mold can grow anywhere or on anything that is moist. For instance, mold can grow on carpets, in bathrooms, HVAC, laundry areas among others.
Research has indicated that homes made of stucco provide a conducive environment for rapid multiplication of mold. When stucco is poorly done, it retains water and traps moisture. These conditions increase mold growth which is a nightmare for homeowners and buyers. Proper stucco installation is done in several layers including a rain barrier with an air gap, asphalt paper, a layer of mesh and layers of stucco.
Mold problems have become a major health threat in America. People are advised to do mold tests before buying a house. This will reduce the risk of health hazards in highly susceptible people like: the elderly, infants and children, and people with reduced immunity as a result of other illnesses. It will also reduce the number of asthmatic people who get asthma attacks or chronic allergies.
Once the mold test turns positive, measures to control it are put in place. Getting rid of all molds can be tedious because of its nature to reproduce and multiply very fast. Therefore, to control mold’s growth, one needs to ensure that their homes are moisture free. Dry surfaces will hinder the reproduction of the spores carried by air. Areas with mold should be dealt with according to EPA protocols for mold removal. In addition to removing the mold, it is important to identify the cause of moisture.
Humid areas, it is advisable to use air conditioners so as to reduce moisture in the air. In cases of cold weather, houses should be kept warm by using heaters. This will ensure that the cold air does not condense on surfaces like furniture. Leaking pipes and roofs should be repaired to keep houses moisture free. Homeowners should ensure they use certified contractors to build houses that do not trap moisture and lead to mold growth. Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) provides information about mold: its sources, causes, symptoms, related illnesses, and remediation.
Mold remediation should be taken seriously. Observing hygiene in hotels, restaurants, homes and all working places, in general, is a control measure of highly contagious Norovirus, which is caused by mold. Mold awareness will reduce the risk of suffering from mold-related illnesses.