In my previous blog I told you my story … Now, let’s see the facts:
What is mold?
“Mold is a natural part of the environment and is found almost everywhere. It produces tiny spores to reproduce, which waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains” (Children’s Hospital of Boston).
There are over 100,000 types of mold, and not all mold is “bad” -per se. However, there are a few kinds that are dangerous, specifically stachybotrys (pronounced “stacky-bow-triss”) chartarum. It is called black (or toxic) mold and is blackish green in color. This type of mold is quite common, and contains hazardous and toxic compounds called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can exist and spread, even if there is no longer a presence of the mold it came from. This is a very important fact, as just removing the mold may not remove the dangers.
Where & Why does mold grow?
Although mold is more common in humid climates, toxic mold is quite prevalent in the arid high deserts of the Colorado front range – Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Mold needs nutrients, water (or humidity above 70%), favorable temperatures and oxygen.
Nutrients– Mold can live off of any “dead organic material such as wood, paper or fabrics” as well as synthetic materials like caulk and paint (Dr.Nathan Yost, MD Frequently Asked Questions About Mold).
Water– Mold needs water, or high humidity to survive. Where there is consistant moisture, mold is prone to grow. So, when mold is removed the moisture problem needs to be corrected, as well. What are some common moisture problems?
– Leaky pipes
– Leaky windows
– Damp basements/ crawlspaces
– Leaky roof
– Condensation (around pipes and windows)
– Lots of houseplants
– Clogged gutters
– Improperly vented dryers
– Improperly vented bathrooms/ showers
Favorable Temperatures– Mold lives between 40 & 100 degrees. It loves the average indoor temperature of most homes.
Oxygen– Like most living things, mold cannot live without oxygen. So, “airing out your house” is not necessarily a way to prevent mold from occurring.
Who can be affected?
Any type of mold can create allergic reactions, especially in infants, elderly, people of poor health and people with allergies. Black mold, on the other hand has been found to cause health problems in healthy people as well. People who already have a weakened immune system are at an even higher risk, as are infants and elderly people.
What are some of the dangers of living with mold?
The science of mold – and its effects on human health is still in its infancy stage, but enough evidence has surfaced showing it to be of a major health concern. I have heard reports as serious as insanity and even death. Some health problems that have been directly linked to mold include:
immune system suppression
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
irritable bowel syndrome
How do we take care of it?
As I mentioned earlier, just because the mold is removed, does not mean that the mycotoxins have been removed. Further, mold is a symptom of a moisture problem. First, fix the problem. Do NOT take care of mold on your own. If you fear that toxic mold is in your home, move out until it can be remediated. Although there are ways that you can remove some mold yourself, it is much safer to have a CERTIFIED professional mold remediation specialist do this instead. Improper clean up of mold can lead to serious health problems for you and the people around you. You would not perform a root canal on yourself, would you?
Sources for more information on all aspects of MOLD:
http://www.realtor.org/libweb.nsf/pages/fg711#topica http://www.ncsu.edu/ehs/www99/right/handsMan/air_qual/mold_remediation.htm http://www.childrenshospital.org
http://www.healthandenergy.com Posted By: Springs Realty Scoop – Colorado Springs Real Estate