What is mold?
Mold is a an organism that prefers to grow in warm, humid areas. It is in the fungi family..
Facts about mold
- The organism itself is too small to see without a microscope but clumped together they will usually form a blackened area.
- Mold needs water and a organic substrate to live off of.
- The substrate includes paper, wood or living organisms.
- Some molds can produce toxins that can kill bacteria. Penicillin is a mold that is used to fight bacterial infections.
What happens when you are exposed to mold?
- Some people may not affected by the presence of mold
- Sneezing, coughing and eye irritation can occur.
- Patients with asthma are usually more sensitive to mold.
- High exposure to mold or an immunocompromised state such as those with cancer can develop infection in the lungs from mold exposure.
- Lung infections from mold exposure can be difficult to treat.
People at greatest risk for health problems from mold exposure are individuals with,
- respiratory conditions
- infants and children
- elderly people
- pregnant women
- Those with a weakened immune system are at risk.
Avoiding mold outdoors
- Mold likes to grow in moist areas.
- Compost piles, leaf piles and mulch can all harbor mold.
Avoiding mold indoors
- Bathroom showers can easily develop mold. Wiping down the shower after use can help prevent mold
- Venting and exhaust fans will help keep areas dry which will help reduce mold growth.
- Repair leaks when spotted will help prevent wet areas.
- Look for leaks around pipes notice wet spots on the ceiling.
- Pay close attention to the heating and air conditioning. Clean drip pans when needed.
- Reduce humidity with a dehumidifier Frigidaire FAD504DWD Energy Star 50-pint Dehumidifier. The CDC recommends keeping humidity levels below 50%.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
- Refrain from carpeting the basement which can help harbor mold.
- Preventing moisture from condensing by using the air conditioner or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity).
Cleaning up mold
- Wipe areas that are not porous.
- Consider lightly mist the area to help prevent the spread of spores before cleaning
- If you are going to use bleach, avoid mixing with ammonia.
- Osha does not recommend bleach, “The use of a biocide, such as chlorine bleach, is not recommended as a routine practice during mold remediation, although there may be instances where professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immuno-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area, as a background level of mold spores comparable to the level in outside air will persist. However, the spores in the ambient air will not cause further problems if the moisture level in the building has been corrected.”
- Bleach is toxic. If you chose to use it ventilate the are but be careful with high winds or using a fan. Spores can be dispersed in to previously clean areas.
- Osha recommends HEPA vacuums
Vacmaster 8 Gallon HEPA Vac with 2 Stage Motor, VK811PH (high-efficiency particulate air)
“HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums are recommended for final cleanup of remediation areas after materials have been thoroughly dried and contaminated materials removed. HEPA vacuums also are recommended for cleanup of dust that may have settled on surfaces outside the remediation area. Care must be taken to assure that the filter is properly seated in the vacuum so that all the air passes through the filter. When changing the vacuum filter, remediators should wear respirators, appropriate personal protective clothing, gloves, and eye protection to prevent exposure to any captured mold and other contaminants. The filter and contents of the HEPA vacuum must be disposed of in impermeable bags or containers in such a way as to prevent release of the debris.”
VonHaus 600W 2-in-1 Corded Upright Stick & Handheld Vacuum Cleaner with HEPA & Sponge Filtration – FREE Crevice Tool
What do you do to avoid mold?