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10 Things You Should Know about Mold

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Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce. These spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may be­gin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. When excessive moisture or water accu­mulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.

Here are 10 things you should know about mold and how you can keep it under control.

1 Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.

2 There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

3 If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

4 Fix the source of any water problem or leak you may have to prevent mold growth.

5 Reduce indoor humidity to decrease mold growth by vent­ing bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and dehumidi­fiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

6 Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.

7 Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials, such as ceil­ing tiles, that are moldy may need to be replaced.

8 Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces, such as windows, piping, exterior walls, the roof, or floors, by adding insulation.

9 Don’t install carpeting in areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, such as by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation.

10 Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

 

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, www.epa.gov

This article was originally published in Coping® with Allergies & Asthma magazine, Winter 2011-2012.