Is mold making me sick?
The predominant health effects from mold are allergenic in nature and are limited to the period of time that you are exposed to the fragments and chemicals that mold produces. Most healthy adults have a very high tolerance to mold exposure, even when exposed to large amounts of it. Some reports have been made that mold may cause or exacerbate more serious health problems like asthma or hyper-sensitivities, however a direct cause and effect to these issues is yet to have been established. Some individuals who have preexisting conditions like asthma or are immune-system compromised like HIV patients will be more likely to develop symptoms, illnesses, or complications when exposed to mold. If you do think that mold is making you sick, the best thing that you can do is to remove yourself from the environment where you know or think mold is present. If your acute symptoms (runny nose, watery eyes, fatigue) subside or improve when not in the affected area, it is likely that mold is the culprit. If you do not have a visible mold problem, and you suspect that mold may be causing you problems you should contact your physician about your concerns.
What is Mold?
Molds can be found in every environment throughout the world, including here in Indiana. Like mushrooms, many kinds of wood rot, and mildew; mold is part of the Fungi Kingdom. Outdoors, molds provide a valuable service to our planet by breaking down dead plant materials along with other microscopic organisms. Molds reproduce through the release of spores into their environments. These spores settle on surfaces and, if conditions are right, amplify into large colonies. Mold gradually destroys whatever it is growing on and so eliminating visible mold growth within building structures is important to protect building materials from deterioration. While additional research is needed to get a clear picture of the health problems associated with mold exposure, It is still prudent to avoid exposure to mold within indoor environments.
What Causes Mold?
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 should be avoided. 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. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.
How Do I Know If I Have a Mold Problem?
Mold can be present without the appearance of visible mold. It requires moisture to survive, so it is often found in areas with water damage or excessive humidity. Musty odors are an indication of a mold problem. If you think that you might have a hidden mold problem, you can hire a professional for an inspection and/or testing.
What does mold look like? What does black mold look like?
Mold can look white, gray, black, brown, yellow or greenish. Mold colonies may appear cottony, velvety, granular, leathery and glassy.
What can I do to protect against mold? How do you remove mold from walls?
It is impossible to completely eliminate all mold spores indoors. Mold will always be found floating in the air and in house dust. Indoor mold growth can be prevented by controlling water and moisture in indoors.The following may prevent or reduce indoor mold growth:
- Repair all water leaks & moisture problem areas.
- Provide good air circulation.
- All HVAC systems should have a good electrostatic filter on the return.
- Insulate and ventilate attic & crawl space areas.
- Clean, Dry or remove items that are damaged by water immediately.
Real Estate deals Do Not have to be broken. If the home you are thinking about purchasing has mold do not panic. you can remove unusual mold levels from the home and bring it back to it’s original condition.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers. They separated into thin, durable threads.? These fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, asbestos has been used widely in many industries.
Exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of asbestosis, other nonmalignant lung and pleural disorders, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other cancers.
How do I know if I have asbestos in my home (in floor tile, ceiling tile, shingles, siding, etc.)?
The only way to be sure whether a material contains asbestos is to have it tested by a qualified laboratory. EPA only recommends testing suspect materials if they are damaged (fraying,crumbling) or if you are planning a renovation that would disturb the suspect material. Samples should be taken by a properly trained and accredited asbestos professional (inspector).
What are the health risks if I have asbestos in my home, building, apartment, or school?
Asbestos that is in good condition and left undisturbed is unlikely to present a health risk. The risks from asbestos occur when it is damaged or disturbed where asbestos fibers become airborne and can be inhaled. Managing asbestos in place and maintaining it in good repair is often the best approach.