Mold: Why All the Fuss?

You’ve no doubt been hearing a lot about mold contamination in the last few years. This is due in large part to some highly publicized cases that have involved huge law suits. Is there really cause for such hysteria, or are such cases really quite rare? If we haven’t been effected by mold up to this point in our lives, why bother to be concerned now? How aware do we as homeowners and business owners really need to be about mold and its effect on the air quality of our home and working environments?

If the EPA tells us that the concerns over mold are real, then maybe we should be more aware of the potential problems mold can cause and take some basic precautionary measures to ensure that mold growth doesn’t occur in our homes and businesses. Following is a brief summary of what causes mold contamination, how it may effect our health, and how we can prevent it.

Some Causes and contributing factors: Leaky roofs that let in moisture, buildings constructed with high cellulose content, improperly installed carpeting, carpets improperly cleaned and dried, excessive humidity in the air, water damage, (HVAC) heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems that spread the spores throughout buildings, and modern day airtight and insulated buildings that limit a building’s ability to dry naturally. These are a few potential causes and contributors to the growth of mold.

Health Effects: CMCleaning & Maintenance Magazine, August 2001, explains that “Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium and Stachybotrys are among the more common and sickening fungi. Stachybotry is considered among the most toxic. These and other forms of mold typically effect 10 to 20 percent of people, causing asthma attacks, allergic reactions, and other respiratory problems. Fatigue, headaches, runny nose and congestion are other common health effects from mold contamination in buildings. In infants studies have associated mold with potentially fatal pulmonary hemorrhages/hemosiderosis – bleeding from the lungs. After repeated exposure to indoor mold some people develop an extreme reaction to mold that may prohibit them from ever working or living in a building that has even medium levels of airborne mold.”

Prevention: Be aware of the potential sources for mold. One common source of mold is improperly installed carpets or carpets not cleaned and dried properly. Reduce humidity levels to between 30 – 60 percent. Keep your home and working environment CLEAN!


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