Know the Enemy: Mold
The most important factor in the growth and spread of mold and other biological agents is moisture. Moisture problems indoors can result in the growth or amplification of biological and microbial organisms like mold, mildew, dust mites and bacteria. Exposure to these organisms can increase the risk of allergic illness, trigger asthma attacks, cause respiratory infections or have other health effects.
Common sources of moisture include high indoor humidity, plumbing leaks, structural leaks, as well as malfunctioning or improperly sized heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. To remedy the problem, the source of excess moisture must be found and fixed, and contaminated materials must be removed and discarded if they cannot be thoroughly cleaned. Proper cleaning and building maintenance, especially moisture control, are essential in the control of mold and other biological agents.
Just what is mold, anyway?
Mold is a term used to describe a type of fungus that is an often fuzzy-looking growth that appears on the surface of organic materials in damp conditions, both outdoors and indoors. Molds may be gray, black, green, yellow, orange or various other colors, and may have a velvety or wooly texture.
Like other fungi, molds produce tiny spores in order to reproduce. Mold spores continually waft through the air, both indoors and out-of-doors. When mold spores land on a damp spot, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Indoors, molds can grow on wood, paper, fabrics, carpet, foods and other organic materials.
Molds are a natural part of the environment, but human health problems may result when people are exposed to large amounts of mold, particularly indoors. Inhaling excessive quantities of airborne mold particles or spores may lead to allergic illness, trigger asthma, cause respiratory infection, or bring about toxic effects from certain chemicals in the mold cells.
When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores indoors. However, indoor mold growth can be controlled by controlling moisture.
If you have a mold infestation, consult a qualified mold remediation expert.