Is mold in the house making you sick? Black mold has drawn a lot of media attention and black mold removal is now big business.
But if you think mold health risks are exaggerated better think again.
Did you know it is estimated half the houses in the US have a mold problem?
When a musty or earthy smell is present there is a 90% chance it’s caused by unwanted mold growth.
If you suffer from colds that don’t seem to go away, have ongoing flu-like symptoms, chronic fatigue, asthma, or other respiratory or eye problems it could be because your house is making you sick.
What Is Black Mold?
Black mold or toxic black mold as it has been called by the media is the fungus Stachybotrys chartarum.
It is proven to be highly toxic and if it is growing in your home black mold removal needs to be done.
Media hype aside this is not the only type of household mold that is toxic.
While black mold is not rare it is not the most common culprit although the mycotoxins it produces are probably the most damaging.
Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria are common household molds that are known to have adverse health effects on humans and pets.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) says all mold should be treated as a potential health hazard regardless of its color and should be removed.
Recently declassified US Army documents state that black mold mycotoxins were used to develop biological weapons.
Black mold, or green mold, no matter what the color, does not belong in your home.
Why Is There Mold In The House?
Mold is everywhere. It is an important part of our ecosystem, helping to decay organic matter.
Imagine how autumn leaves would stack up if they didn’t decompose.
Mold has been around for millions of years and science has only recently discovered how mold can affect our health.
In fact, they have only really scratched the surface of the problem.
Mold feeds on cellulose-rich foods like wood and paper. When it does it produces mycotoxins to keep competing organisms away from its food supply.
Mold outside is not a problem unless you have a mold allergy. There will always be some mold in the house, but when it is growing and reproducing indoors it poses a health risk to everyone.
Since the 1970’s there has been a trend toward making homes tighter and more energy efficient.
HVAC systems recirculate inside air and can spread mold spores throughout the house.
These tighter home and having mold in the house is responsible for the increasing mold problems.
Sick building syndrome is affecting our homes, our schools, and our workplace.
Home Mold Inspection
If you are experiencing unexplained health issues or can smell that telltale musty or earthy smell it’s time to do a home mold inspection.
Mold needs moisture to grow. That’s one of the reasons it shows up in bathrooms so often.
Other prime places for mold are under sinks, behind washing machines, water heaters, and partly heated areas where condensation can occur.
Basements and attics are common places to find mold in the house.
Sometimes mold can be hidden. Leaky pipes in the walls can cause hidden mold problems as can roof leaks.
The key is to look for all sources of moisture and possible leaks and fix them, otherwise, mold will continue to grow.
If you find black mold or any other type of mold in the house it is not necessary to test it.
It needs to be removed following EPA safety guidelines.
If you don’t find visible mold but can smell it then you have a hidden mold problem and you may need the assistance of a mold remediation company to find it especially if you are experiencing mold symptoms.
Black Mold Removal
It is important to take care in removing mold not to spread it or breathe it in so wear a respirator and gloves.
If mold is growing on hard surfaces like metal or glass, they can be scrubbed clean and disinfected.
However, if mold is growing on porous surfaces like drywall it will need to be removed and replaced.
You can not kill mold on these surfaces with bleach or any other biocide because the mycelium has penetrated far below the surface.
It is not just living mold that is dangerous. The spores and other dead parts are also toxic when inhaled.
If the area is under 10 square feet you can probably replace it yourself if you are in good health and not allergic to mold.
Care should be taken not to spread the mold or its spores. Try to isolate the area and carry the debris out in a sealed plastic bag.
It is possible if proper precautions are taken to remove up to a 30-square foot area, roughly the size of a sheet of drywall.
Anything larger than 30 square feet should really be handled by a trained mold remediation specialist.
Once you approach 30 square feet the area requires containment beyond the scope of what most homeowners can provide and full-body protection is required by the EPA.
More Information If You Have Mold In The House
Additional help and information are available if you have found mold and need help with black mold removal or if you suspect mold may be making you sick even though you haven’t found any visible signs of mold. Please visit https://www.webmd.com/lung/mold-mildew
The increasing trend of mold in homes is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Homeowners need to be aware of the possible sources of mold and take steps to prevent it from growing.
If mold is found, it is important to take care in removing it so as not to spread it.
Larger areas of mold should be removed by trained professionals. If you suspect mold may be making you sick, please visit your doctor.