Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Mold?
Molds are simple, microscopic organisms that are present virtually everywhere, including both indoors and outdoors. Molds, along with mushrooms and yeasts, are fungi and are needed to break down dead material and recycle nutrients in the environment. For molds to grow and reproduce, they need only a food source, which could include any organic material, such as leaves, wood, paper, or dirt, and moisture. Because molds grow by digesting the organic material, they gradually destroy whatever they grow on. Sometimes, new molds grow on old mold colonies. Mold growth on surfaces can often be seen in the form of discoloration, frequently green, gray, brown, or black, but also white and other colors. Molds release countless tiny, lightweight spores that travel through the air
Should I Be Concerned About Mold In My Home Or Building?
Yes. If indoor mold contamination is extensive, it can cause very high and persistent airborne spore exposures. Persons exposed to high spore levels can become sensitized and develop allergies to the mold or other health problems. Mold growth can damage your furnishings, such as carpets, sofas and cabinets. Clothes and shoes in damp closets can become soiled. In time, unchecked mold growth can cause serious damage to the structural elements in your home.
How Much Mold Can Make Me Sick?
It depends. For some people, a relatively small number of mold spores can trigger an asthma attack or lead to other health problems. For other persons, symptoms may occur only when exposure levels are much higher. Nonetheless, indoor mold growth is unsanitary and undesirable. Basically, if you can see or smell mold inside your home or building, you need to take steps to identify and eliminate the excess moisture and to clean up and remove the mold. Consult a professional before cleaning a mold problem on your own.
What Symptoms Are Commonly Seen With Mold Exposure?
Molds produce health effects through inflammation, allergy, or infection. Allergic reactions, often referred to as hay fever, are most common following mold exposure. Typical symptoms that mold-exposed persons report*, alone or in combination, include:
|• Eye Irritation, Including Burning, Watery, Or Reddened Eyes
• Dry, Hacking Cough Nose or Throat Irritation
• Skin Rashes or Irritation
|• Respiratory Problems, Such As Wheezing, Difficulty Breathing, & Shortness Of Breath
• Nasal & Sinus Congestion
*Headaches, memory problems, mood swings, nosebleeds, body aches and pains, and fevers are occasionally reported in mold cases, but their cause is not understood.
How Am I Exposed To Indoor Molds?
Everyone is exposed to some mold on a daily basis without evident harm. It is common to find mold spores in the air inside homes, and most of the airborne spores found indoors come from outdoor sources. Mold spores primarily cause health problems when they are present in large numbers and people inhale many of them. This occurs most often when there is active mold growth within home, office, or school where people live or work. People can also be exposed to mold by touching contaminated materials and by eating contaminated food.