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- Why is mold growing in my home?
- Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth is not welcome. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. While there are many types of mold, none of them will grow without water or moisture.
- Can mold cause health problems?
- Molds have the potential to cause health problems for some people. Molds can produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances. Allergic reactions to mold are common and include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold.
- How do I get rid of mold?
- While it is not possible to get rid of all mold spores indoors, it can be controlled by eliminating moisture, then either cleaning or removing affected materials. (If you don’t fix the water problem, mold most likely will return.)
A simple process called mold screening can help you determine if mold is an issue in your home. It involves identifying any sources of unwanted moisture, and collection of samples from surfaces and air within the house. The samples are sent to a qualified microbiological laboratory for analysis, a process that requires 48 hours. When the results are received, a report is prepared that contains the lab results and summarizes actions that are recommended. In most cases, the recommendations focus on clean-up work. In some cases, a more extensive program called remediation is recommended: a program of tearing out mold-affected materials and replacing them, conducted by contractors specifically trained and licensed for such work.
For more information, read the EPA’s A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.