Limit Your Exposure.
Listed below are some common questions we hear from our clients. If you don’t find what you are looking for in these Mold FAQs, please give us a call at 1-800-673-7830.
- How do I get rid of mold?
- How to prevent mold problems: Three steps
- How can I tell if I have mold?
- What makes mold grow in my house or building?
- Are all molds harmful?
- Online Resources
Have a question not listed here? Call Kurt Spiess @ 1.800.673.7830. EMG welcomes your environmental inquires which we will discuss without charge or obligation.
How do I get rid of mold?
Controlling moisture in your home is the most important factor in preventing Mold growth. The critical first step to controlling moisture is to eliminate the water source.
How to prevent mold problems: Three steps
1. When in doubt, throw it out.Remove and dispose of any porous, “un-cleanable” materials (carpeting, ceiling tiles, upholstery, insulation, leather, paper, unwashable clothing…) that have been wet for more than 48-hours, or show any evidence of repeated water damage, or visible mold growth. Wash any clothing in hot water, with bleach if possible, and dry on high heat.
2. Stop the water source.
Fix or repair roofs, walls, windows, and/or plumbing and/or make necessary drainage alterations to prevent any re-infiltration of water and moisture. Check downspouts, gutters, flashing, and drainage pitch surrounding the building to ensure runoff is diverted away from foundation. Install drainage in water-prone basement areas. Controlling the water and moisture entering the building is the most critical factor to prevent mold growth.
3. Clean and Seal.
Using proper protection, clean-wipe all surfaces with an antimicrobial agent and encapsulate structures with a sealer. For small spot cleaning, homeowners with proper skin, eye, and respiratory protection can use a 10% bleach solution (approximately 1.5 cups bleach to 1 gallon water) to wipe surfaces that will not be damaged by solution.
CAUTION: Bleach is highly corrosive. Refer to MSDS (Material Data Safety Sheet) before use.
How can I tell if I have mold?
Two simple ways to identify if you have a mold problem:
1. Sight: Do you see any discoloration or water damage?
2. Smell: Are there any damp or musty odors?
If you see mold growth or smell a musty odor, you should evaluate the possibility of a mold exposure problem. If you experience allergy-like symptoms or worsening of health issues after water infiltration to a structure where you spend a lot of time, you should evaluate the possibility of a mold exposure problem.
What makes mold grow in my house or building?
The most significant factor affecting mold -related indoor quality is water and humidity. According to the Environmental Protection Agency “one-third to one-half of all structures have damp conditions that may encourage the development of pollutants such as molds and bacteria.” The variety and inconsistency in color and appearance of molds make it difficult to distinguish one type from another and hinder visual identification of potentially hazardous ones. In addition, many are not visible but concealed within carpets, HVAC systems/air ducts, walls, ceilings and construction and furniture materials.
EMG uses standards and sampling methods recognized by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), World Health Organization (WHO), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Are all molds harmful?
No, and yes. Many factors determine the severity and categorization of a mold problem including the type of mold present, the concentration of airborne spores, and the duration of exposure. Primarily, health complications occur from inhalation and contact with live, toxic mold spores but people can experience allergic reactions to any mold and even to dead mold. Toxic molds and their by-products most often cause health affects from allergic reactions, cold and flu-like symptoms to chronic illnesses. In susceptible people like the young, old, chronically ill, or immunocompromised, mold can trigger a severe health crisis.
You can think of mold on a graduating scale with the following categories:
Very low concentrations of non-toxic mold that cause no harm or ill-effects to occupants.
Small areas of non-toxic mold growth with low-spore concentrations found in bathroom shower stalls, or normally wet areas. If disturbed and exposure occurs, an individual may notice some sneezing or skin irritation. Due to lower concentration, limited exposure, or both, they typically cause no noticeable, prolonged health effects.
High concentrations of non-toxic mold that can cause significant negative health effects including prolonged allergy symptoms (sneezing, runny nose, red eyes), headache, skin irritation, and/or worsening of health conditions such as asthma or other breathing conditions. Allergic reactions to mold are common particular with prolonged exposure and for any individual with health and/or immune challenges. There is a myriad of symptoms associated with nontoxic molds when there is significant and/or prolonged exposure. It is unclear why there is such variation among individuals in regard to reactions and severity of health effects.
Significant levels of known myotoxin-producing organism such as Stachybotrys, Chaetomium, and Penicillium/Aspergillus. These molds produce toxins that are poisonous, cause known harmful health effects, and must be avoided by all individuals.
Note: Prolonged exposure by anyone to toxic molds can be life threatening. If you experience health symptoms, consult your physician about when, how, and for what period of time you think you were exposed.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guide to Air Cleaners
- Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum and Other Molds
- A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home
- Fungal (Mold) Contamination in Indoor Environments FAQ
- Mold Resources
- Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
- Get Rid of Mold
- Protect Yourself from Mold
- Cleanup and Remediation