What are the Dangers of Mold in Your Home?
Jack, from MY Mold Removal NYC, has this take on mold. Mold is a toxic fungus that grows on damp surfaces. It appears as a dark green or black matter sticking on a wall, floor or other damp dark surfaces. What is invisible to the eye is more than what is visible. Mold gives off spores that are too small to see and cause the most damage to human health. The most common adverse effect of the mold is an allergic reaction. Mold removal NYC experts say coming into contact with mold can lead to skin irritation. Breathing it in will cause nasal stuffiness, wheezing, coughing and chronic respiratory disease. The worrying fact is that the air inside houses is usually more infested with mold than air outside while people spend more than 60% of their time in buildings.
Where is mold found?
Mold is to be found both indoors and outdoors. Studies have identified over 1,000 types of mold that grow in the typical US households. It grows on any damp surface, especially if there is some form of sugar. It can grow on window vents, damp clothing, shoes, air conditioning vents, floor, carpet and pretty much anywhere there is an accumulation of moisture.
Mold remediation NYC experts say that the bathroom is the most common place to find mold. There is constant moisture from the water and steam in the bathroom. Mold quickly grows in bathroom corners and other hidden chinks in the bathroom floor and walls.
The plumbing system also attracts mold growth, especially where there are slow leaking pipes. Leaking roof tiles and flooded floors are also attractive spaces for mold. However, mold also grows on dry surfaces like wallpaper, drywall insulation, carpets, and furniture upholstery. Vinyl wall coverings attract mold because they are not able to absorb moisture leaving it sticking to the surface. Surfaces that contain cellulose are highly susceptible to mold. These include cardboard ceiling, wooden floors, and other paper products.
How does mold grow?
There are over 100,000 types of mold. Visible mold is called a mold cluster. This is formed by mold spores joining together using tiny tubular arms to form one single organism. This is well visible to the eye as a dark green or black substance.
Mold also exists as individual un-clustered spores. This kind of mold floats in the air and invisible to the naked eye. This mold is the most dangerous of the two as it can easily get into the respiratory system by breathing in air which it has infested.
Mold health risks
The human body can adequately protect itself from minimal mold levels. But high concentrations cause adverse health effects. The Institute of Medicine found out in 2004 that there was a clear correction between mold existence and respiratory problems like coughing and wheezing in otherwise healthy people.
People with asthma experience more acute asthma symptoms when exposed to mold. Those with weakened immunity like HIV positive people, infants and old people will develop hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
mold has been linked to other human ailments apart from respiratory problems. These include acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in infants, fatigue and memory loss. Nervous disorders and even depression have also been linked to mold.
Mold can kill. A certain type of mold called Stachybotrys is very toxic and has been shown to cause acute infections that can quickly lead to death.
The first step in getting rid of mold is by having an assessment of the presence and level of mold. A mold testing NYC service will do this for you. After positively identifying mold presence, it can be removed by several means. Using a fungicide and bleach is the most common way of killing off the mold. Extreme mold infestation could necessitate complete removal of the surface on which the mold is growing.
The US CDC recommends complete removal of mold regardless of its type. The CDC also recommends common prevention measures to discourage mold growth. This by preventing moisture build up and getting rid of excess moisture. Simple measures of preventing mold growth are:
- Fixing leaking pipes, windows, and roofs.
- Through drying and cleaning after flooding. This should ideally be done 24-48 hours after the flooding.
- Proper ventilation in areas where moisture builds up like laundry rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. Exhaust fans can be used where open windows are absent, to push out steam and vapor.
- Complete removal of carpets, fabrics, and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot dry out at their present location.
- Using a mold inhibitor. This can be added to paint.
- Using bleach to clean off the mold. A homemade bleach solution can be made by mixing 1 cup of water into 1 gallon of water.
- Installation of a dehumidifier or an air conditioner to help control humidity. The humidity levels in a house should be kept as low as possible and go no higher than 50%.