Mold is everywhere. It’s in the air we breathe, in much of the food we eat, and in our homes. According to the EPA, molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. High humidity, condensation and water leaks create the perfect conditions for mold growth. No house is immune from mold because it is impossible to keep all water and moisture out.
The basement is the area of the home that tends to be the most susceptible to water seepage and mold. According to a recent consumer survey of homeowners and renters, 55% of respondents said that they had lived in a home with a wet basement and of that group, 76% feared that they and their families were being harmed by mold. Indeed, all molds have the potential to cause ill health, depending on their type, whether or not they produce toxins, how long you are exposed, and your overall health and resistance to infection.
However, while many people are aware that mold can cause health problems, there are still a lot fuzzy “facts” out there about this fungus.
Mold and Your Health
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long-term exposure to damp and moldy environments can cause a variety of negative health effects. Inhaling this fungus can lead to throat problems, sinus infections, eye irritation, respiratory troubles, and even skin rashes. This can be exacerbated with those who already suffer from asthma, as mold has been known to cause severe upper respiratory tract problems, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia in patients with known cases of asthma.
Common Myths About Mold
Myth #1: A Healthy Home is Mold-Free
According to the EPA, It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.
Myth #2: Mold Only Affects People Who Have an Allergy or Other Health Conditions
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.
Myth #3 Mold in the Home is Easy to Spot
Mold is a finicky thing — it can exist in the home without being visible. Molds reproduce by making spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Long before you first notice mold, it can exist in the air or under the surface without causing noticeable health symptoms.
Mold is Not Welcome Here!
You can take these steps to suppress the conditions that allow moisture in and mold to grow:
- Reducing moisture in the air is one way to cut down on mold in the first place. The best strategies for controlling moisture in your home depend on your climate and how your home is constructed.
- Make sure you have ventilation fans in both your kitchen and bathrooms to ensure damp air is whisked away as soon as possible.
- Maintain caulking and joint sealants. Do not wait to seal/repair a leaky roof, windows, basement, pipes or any area where water can seep into your home. According to gov mold growths, or colonies, can start to grow on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours.
- If water does seep or flood into your house, immediately clean and dry as much of the area as possible. Be sure to check for moisture in hidden areas where mold can easily grow and thrive, such as the back side of dry wall, underneath wallpaper, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets, around pipes, inside ductwork, and in roof materials.
Mold can wreak havoc in your home if you’re not careful. Be vigilant and always use caution when dealing with mold in your home — avoid breathing in mold or mold spores, and wear gloves and goggles.
Austin Werner is the President of Real Seal LLC, a basement waterproofing company based in Schaumburg, IL. Real Seal is committed to personalized and expedited service and, of course, dry basements!
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