Is your home or work place making you sick? Have you ever walked into a room that has a musty or earthy odor? You probably are smelling mold.
The common signs and symptoms associated with mold allergens are:
- Coughing and postnasal drip
- Sneezing and congestion
- Itchy watery eyes, nose and throat
In all cases you should call a professional, to insure the growth is not toxic mold.
In most cases mold will be growing behind walls, under wallpaper, underneath carpets, or in other hidden areas. Mold growth is common in areas that are damp or have suffered water damage. You should be especially concerned about mold growth if you have had:
- a flood
- an overflowing toilet
- leaking roof
- leaking windows
- Any other serious water-related problems.
Once materials become wet, mold can begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours.
Mold Can Damage Your Home and Health
Mold can cause problems for your home as well as your health. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Division of Emergency Management (DEM), want you to safely remove the mold in your home and be aware of potential health risks, especially to those who are mold-sensitive.
Checking for Mold
You can tell if you have mold in your home if you can see it or if there is an earthy or musty odor. Visible mold growth can be found under water-damaged surfaces, or behind walls. Look for discoloration and cracking walls. You should be concerned about mold contamination in your home. Mold can also cause structural damage to your home. Similarly, when wood becomes soaked it can warp when it dries and cause walls to crack or become weaker.
Mold can become a problem in your home if there is enough moisture to allow mold to thrive and multiply. Dampness, as a result of the flooding, can get in walls, carpets, and wood. This moisture provides an excellent environment for mold to multiply. Mold is especially attracted to paper products such as wallboard used in many homes.
According to The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold growth in water-damaged homes and office buildings can create a potential health hazard for individuals sensitive to mold. There is always a little mold everywhere - in the air and on many surfaces. According to the CDC, there are cases of toxic mold reported. Mold exposure can present a health problem; but for those who are sensitive, mold spores can bring on allergic symptoms such as:
- Respiratory problems, such as wheezing, and difficulty in breathing
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- Burning and watering eyes
- Dry, hacking cough
- Sore throat
- Nose and throat irritation
- Shortness of breath
- Skin irritation
Facts about MoldWhat is mold?
Molds are forms of fungi that are found everywhere – both indoors and outdoors all year round. Outdoors, molds live in the soil, on plants and on dead or decaying matter. Another common term for mold is mildew. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions, although it can grow during cold weather also. There are many thousands of species of mold and they can be in any color, including white, orange, green, brown, or black. Many times, mold can be detected by a musty odor. Most fungi, including molds, produce microscopic cells called “spores” that spread easily through the air. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths (colonies) when they find the right conditions. All of us are exposed to fungal spores daily in the air we breathe both outside and inside.
How does mold gets into a building?
Most if not all of the mold found indoors comes from outdoor sources. It seems likely to grow and become a problem only where there is water damage, high humidity, or dampness. All molds need moisture to grow. Common sources of indoor moisture that can cause mold problems include flooding, roof and plumbing leaks, crawl spaces, or anywhere moist air condenses on cold surfaces. Bathroom showers and steam from cooking may also create problems if not well ventilated.
Can mold be toxic?
Some molds can produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. Airborne mycotoxins have been shown to cause health problems to occupants in residential or commercial buildings. The health effects of breathing mycotoxins are not well understood and are currently under study. High or chronic airborne exposures have been associated with illnesses. More is known about eating mycotoxins (from humans and animals consuming moldy foods or feed) and the resulting health effects than is known about breathing mycotoxins.
Why are we concerned about mold?
Small amounts of mold growth in buildings (such as mildew on a shower curtain) are not a major concern, but no mold should be permitted to grow and multiply indoors. When molds are present in large quantities, they may cause nuisance odors and health problems for some people. Mold can damage building materials, and furnishings. Some molds can cause structural damage to wood.
FLORIDA MOLD TESTING
State License # MRSA463