About Mold, Mold Facts

About Mold / What Is Mold?
Mold Facts / Controlling Mold

Information about mold. Mold facts. Information on mold in the home.
How to control mold.

What is Mold? : Molds are microscopic organisms found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
Mold is alive, but it is neither a plant nor an animal. Mold is a type of fungus. It is part of a group of living organisms that are very common and serve an important role in the environment. Penicillin, an antibiotic that has saved many lives, is a type of mold, as is yeast.
Mold is formed by microscopic creatures belonging to the Fungi Kingdom. When tiny airborne spores of mold burst, and then land on a favorable surface, they proliferate into visible colonies, and find new favorable surfaces on which to further develop. Why Chlorine Bleach is ineffective in Killing Mold

Fungal growth requires oxygen, adequate temperature, nutrients and water.

Temperature tolerance:
Thermophiles - 35ºC + human pathogens such as Aspergillus Fumigatus
Mesophiles - 18ºC to 35ºC
Psychrophiles - some fungi grow at 4ºC or below.

Nutrients:
Paper, wallpaper, wallboard, sugars (fruits, vegetables), fabrics, wood, dust, etc

Click here to see what the EPA has to say about Mold in your home.

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How does mold grow?

Mold seeks MOISTURE, WARMTH, and FOOD, and all three conditions are necessary for it to grow. Mold is most likely to find a place to grow in a bathroom, basement or kitchen, but it can grow in other rooms if conditions are favorable. The climate where you live and the living habits in your household can affect the ability of mold to grow.

Mold spores can thrive and reproduce in wet or damp parts of your home: areas that have had flooding or where leakage has occurred in roofs, pipes, or walls, or areas around house plants, especially ones that sometimes are over-watered. In just 48 hours, a moist environment combined with room-temperature conditions and an organic food source can lead to mold growth.

Some places where mold can grow in your home are:

carpet
drapes
upholstery
leather
wood products
clothing

paper
cardboard
books
rags
wallboard
cloth

ceiling tiles
ductwork
paint
wallpaper
household dust

After it gets the food it needs, mold can move to virtually any kind of surface. Mold growth prefers temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If a warm enough area in your home is humid or damp and contains items that mold likes to eat, your home could develop a mold problem.

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How does mold enter a home?

Mold spreads by creating reproductive cells called spores and sending them into the environment. Mold spores are too small to detect with the naked eye. They are everywhere around us and you cannot avoid being exposed to them.

Mold spores travel in the air and attach to people's skin, clothing, shoes, shopping bags and belongings. Other ways spores can enter your home invisibly are:

  • through open doors and windows
  • through your home's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system
  • on the fur of a pet

Once spores enter, they can settle onto carpeting or other surfaces inside your home. You cannot keep spores out of your home, but regular home cleaning and maintenance often can prevent mold problems before they arise.

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How do I know if my environment has mold problems?

•If you see whitish, greenish, bluish, or even dark spots on the walls or ceiling the place may have mold problems.

• Rooms that accumulate humidity such as bathrooms, kitchens or air conditioning systems usually have problems with mold because fungi develop in high humidity environments.

• Rooms with water leakage or infiltrations may have mold infection.

• If the mold infection is in closets, check for leakages from water pipes nearby.

• High risk buildings:
- Near forests, due to high concentration of mold colonies
- Nearby the sea or a river as the high humidity level raises the development of new colonies.
- Buildings with poor sun exposure, as the sun is a natural germicide and helps prevent humidity.

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Can mold make me sick?

Yes, Mold can make you sick. In addition to its being an unpleasant odor and sight, mold can cause harmful effects to human health that might turn to allergic infections and toxic reactions.

 The most common Allergic Effects are:

  • Nasal congestions and irritation;

  • Mucous membrane irritation;

  • Allergic reactions - Rhinitis and Asthma;

  • Sneezing and coughing;

  • Throat and eye irritation;

  • Difficulty breathing;

  • Asthmatic attacks;
  • Itching and skin stains.

Infectious Effects
Immune suppressed patients are more likely to develop mold infections. Included in such groups we can highlight the danger to patients such are:
- HIV positive
- Organ transplanted
- Burned
- Under chemotherapy or radiotherapy;
- Newborns
- Elderly
- Other immune-suppressed patients

Toxic Effects
Mold toxins studies suggest that toxins may be the cause of:
- Pulmonary hemorrhage;
- Reactions in the immunological system (reducing the ability of the organism to react to diseases);
- Neurotoxin effects such as fatigue, headaches, memory loss, depression, erratic moods, convulsions and shaking;
- Potential cancer trigger.

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How to control mold?

It is impossible to completely eliminate airborne mold. Specialists warn that living in environments entirely safe from mold spores, bacteria or viruses would not be healthy since our immunological system needs to be active. It is recommended that steps be taken to reduce airborne microorganisms, not complete extermination.

 Prevention

• Reduce humidity in your home by opening windows for approximately 30 minutes daily;
• Prevent leaks due to rain; and when unavoidable, dry and treat water damage within 24 to 48hours;
• Regularly clean places that accumulate humidity such as showers, faucets and pipes and the floor areas around such fixtures;
• Limit carpets and plants in your home;
• Use air purifier to drastically reduce high contamination levels.
• Whenever  possible, leave objects exposed to sunlight after cleaning. It is very important that objects are dried after cleaning otherwise they will be subject to new mold contamination.
• Porous materials such as wood, fabric, cushions, and mattresses retain water and are likely to be contaminated, making it difficult to clean them. In the event that these objects are contaminated, it is advised to dispose them.

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