Mold in the home

According to the CDC, mold is extremely common in homes and buildings. Molds are organisms that grow both outdoors and indoors. When found outside, it is part of ecosystems, but mold found inside has the potential to be a serious problem. Mold is most likely to grow in dark, damp spaces that have a lot of moisture. This includes places such pipes, windows, around leaks in roofs, cardboard and paper products, ceiling tiles, wood, wallpaper, carpet, fabric, and upholstery. In the home, mold can damage your home and contribute to health issues.

You can usually notice mold quite early on. A mold infestation starts off as a little spot but expands quickly. It can be white, black, spotted or other colours, and texture-wise it can appear cottony, velvety, or powdery. Mold often has an earthy, musty smell. You can tell if it is mold by whether it is in a dark area with a nearby source of moisture, you can see peeling or warping of the material around the spots, and if the color lightens by a drop of bleach.

The most common indoor molds include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, Alternaria, Aureobasidium, Stachybotrys chartarum and Trichoderma. Certain molds are toxigenic (they can produce toxins, specifically called “mycotoxins”). 

The CDC states that human exposure to moldy environments can cause health problems. People who have a sensitivity to molds may develop symptoms such as red or itchy eyes or skin, a stuffy nose, and wheezing after exposure. Those with allergies to molds, or people who suffer from asthma, as well as people exposed to high levels of mold at the workplace, may develop severe reactions such as fever and shortness of breath. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more at risk for infection from molds. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing when exposed to mold. It is possible to do allergy testing for possible mold allergies, but there is no blood test to detect mold. Therefore, no clinical tests can prove mold exposure. 

You can get rid of household mold by using commercial products, bleach, or even soap and water. You should scrub the mold with a brush to get it off all surfaces, and moldy carpets andfurniture with porous material shold be disposed of. After you have removed the mold, take care not to paint over the surface until you are sure the mold is gone. However, if you have had severe water damage, are at high risk for symptoms from mold exposure, or have a large amount of mold, seek professional help for removal.

While it is impossible to get rid of mold entirely, as it is present everywhere in the world, there are ways to prevent it from growing in your home. Fixing water leaks immediately, repairing windows that collect moisture, and keeping your home well ventilated are all steps to take to prevent mold infestations.  

Science Health