They’re silent killers, and charge without warning. We would never see them coming with the naked eye, until it’s too late. They’re in the food we eat, in the grass we play on, and even live in our homes. It’s been on the news for more than a decade, and leaves victims with health problems for the rest of their lives. Who is this tyrant being? Mold. And it travels like a grape vine, covering everything in its path.
Although we hear people talk about the effects done to our population’s health, we still find ourselves scratching our heads asking, “What are the risk and issues?” from exposure to mold.
The Risk and Issues
To start, the term “mold” is a colloquial term for a group of filamentous fungi that are common in foods and other wet materials. The majority of mold found in buildings can also be found in soil. Mold finds ways to adapt to new environments and grows on a wide variety of materials. It’s important to note that there are thousands of species of mold which come in a wide range of colors. As a matter of fact, mold can be detected by a musty odor. So keep a nose out for the smell.
On the other hand, mold has also been linked to cancer putting those brave enough to stick around at risk. Since we’re all different, exposure to mold at first will also vary depending on our health and condition. For those of us who are sensitive to mold, we may experience nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or in some cases, skin irritation.
How Mold Gets Into a House or Building
Mold forms and occurs naturally outdoors, where fungus is one of earth’s most important recyclers. Once molds travel indoors, they need moisture to grow; which becomes a problem when they find what they’re looking for. Anywhere there is water damage, humidity, or dampness will help fulfill their needs. Common sources of indoor moisture that lead to mold problems include:
- Floods from surface water surrounding the home.
- Roof leaks, providing lots of opportunities for a wall system to exhibit failure.
- Leaking pipes, or sewer backups and overflows.
- Condensation on cold surfaces such as air conditioner units and refrigerators (which uses a refrigerant that transfers heat from the air inside of a home to the outside air).
How to Prevent Mold
The best way to prevent mold from entering your home is to control excessive moisture and condensation. Keeping those hard to reach places in your home clean will guarantee safety for both you and your family. Generally speaking, mold will not grow indoors without water, and excessive moisture.
In the case of flood or leaking pipes, any water that sits for a long period of time will more than likely contain some form of mold. With that being said, remove the water-damaged material by either drying it out and cleaning it, or replacing it. This helps minimize the chance of the mold spreading around the house.
Worst Case Scenario
For those of us who live in areas prone to flooding and power-outages, have a backup plan. Typically when residents move to these areas they plan for a natural disaster, but they don’t plan for the aftermath. Although it’s not likely to experience a flood for some residents, the fact of the matter is, it can happen. If you’re in a situation that requires you to act fast, don’t hesitate, especially if children are around. Mold is toxic, and has the ability to damage a child’s body severely, causing respiratory problems, as well as, memory loss and vomiting.
Generators can sometimes be useful since they keep your home powered-up when the power goes out; which allows you to power on fans to push the contaminated air out. But in the end, the mold can still be present. The worst case scenario is being forced out of your home by this tyrant, unwelcoming fungus.
“Should I be concerned about mold?” you ask.
Well, it all depends on where you live and how much you’re being exposed to. A small amount of mold located in a workplace or home, for instance, usually aren’t a major health concern. On the contrary, large amount of mold growth, however, are an important public health concern. Additionally, mold can damage buildings, homes, and furniture which could result in losing just about everything for homeowners, and business owners.
Be safe out there, and keep an eye out for the green stuff!
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H.Davis loves taking advantage of the sunny weather outside. If you can’t catch him online reading whatever he can get his hands on, you might be able to catch him out playing football with friends, or cheering on the Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241. Thanks!