You may see mold growing in damp areas on walls and floors. There is often a "moldy odor" or musty smell frequently associated with mold growth. However, mold infestation WITHIN walls, ceilings and other enclosed spaces may require a mold remediation extert to detect.
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.
Mold is a type of fungi that digests organic matter and reproduces by releasing spores (similar to seeds).
Nutrients that stimulates the growth of mold are found in non-living, damp organic materials including wood, paper or fabrics. Mold can also derive nutrients from some synthetic products such as paints and adhesives. Mold requires moisture, although some species can thrive just on moisture from moist air.
Mold spores enter buildings through the air or on people, animals and objects that are brought into the building.
The EPA recommends that areas that are more than 10 square feet should be done by a qualified contractor who does mold removal. Even in situations of areas less than 10 square feet it is recommended that you have a professional mold tester test the building. Mold can spread rapidly inside walls, crawl spaces, ceilings and inside your air ducts. Important: Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed.
Mold on a hard surface greater than 10 square feet, or within walls and closed spaces, should be cleaned by someone with experience in doing this type of work. Appropriate repairs should also be made to discourage the mold's recurrence.
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