What Is Mold Where Does It Live
From the arctic to equator and all the places in between, mold lives literally everywhere. Molds are fungi, and grow from microscopic spores that are everywhere in the air. Molds are important for recycling organic matter . The recycling process they perform returns nutrients to the soil, and is important for plants to grow. In order to grow, molds need four things to grow: oxygen, moisture, a food source, and the right temperature range .
Causes Of Damp And Mould
Mould and damp are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings can be caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames.
A newly built home may be damp if the water used when building it is still drying out for example, in the plaster on the walls. Excess moisture indoors can also be caused by condensation.
If you have mould or damp it’s important to find out why you have excess moisture in your home. When you know what’s causing the damp, you can make sure your home is repaired or take steps to limit the moisture in the air. You may need to get a professional to remove mould for you, but if it’s only a small amount you may be able to remove it yourself.
Page last reviewed: 8 August 2018 Next review due: 8 August 2021
Signs Of A Moldy Bedroom
If youre inspecting your bedroom for mold, its important to know that mold can grow for some time before it becomes visible. Therefore, when assessing your bedroom, keep an eye out for these signs of mold growth:
- A humid or damp closet
- Condensation on windows
- Cracking paint, a dark area on a wall, or other signs of water damage
- An unusual, musty odor
You may also see mold develop in areas with regular moisture or condensation. For example, black mold spots may become visible in corners of your bedroom or behind furniture that is kept up against the wall.
Sometimes mold may be concealed underneath wallpaper, paneling, carpet, or behind walls. If you suspect that hidden mold is growing in your bedroom, its smart to consider hiring a professional who can perform a thorough investigation of your home.
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Mold Related Health Issues
An example of extreme mold growth. In most cases it is not nearly this obvious. See how it can be green or black?
Depending on a person’s age and overall health, both mold and mildew can cause damaging health effects.
Joint pain, migraines, heart issues and depression are standard with long-term mold exposure. People without mold allergies may be lucky enough to have limited health problems such as headaches, congestion, sneezing, fatigue and skin irritation, but really, nobody is built to live with constant exposure to mold or mildew. Even those with low sensitivity to mold will experience fatigue and general malaise.
The Institute of Medicine tells us people with allergies to mold and mildew typically experience wheezing, chest tightness and coughing and related respiratory illnesses. Mold exposure as a child means greater risk of developing asthma in later years.
Take Steps To Ensure Mold Does Not Return
Here are a few things you can do to make your living and working spaces less vulnerable to mold:
- Use an air purifier.
- Immediately dry or get rid of water-damaged carpets and wood floors.
- Regularly clean all appliances that use water.
- Control the humidity in your home and use a dehumidifier if necessary.
- Air out moist rooms, like the bathroom, regularly.
- Clean damp surfaces, like shower walls, weekly.
- Use fans or windows to increase air circulation.
Now that you know the difference between mold vs. mildew, check out how doctors allergy-proof their homes.
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Get Rid Of The Moisture
While it may help to know if youre dealing with mold vs. mildew, the first step of remediation is the same either way: Find the source of the moisture and eliminate it.
Moisture control is mold control, explains the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency . Cleaning up the mold itself is pointless if you dont cut off the source of the moisture feeding it. If the moisture returns, so will the mold.
Plug leaks, remove floodwater, and seal anywhere that groundwater seeps into your home, along with other measures to keep moisture away. This step alone may be enough to solve your mold problem.
In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area a background level of mold spores will remain, but these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved, the EPA states.
Condensation On Windows Window Frames And Sills
- Promptly repair any leaks.
- Lower the indoor moisture levels.
- Use exhaust bathroom fans and a kitchen range hood.
- Keep window coverings open to move the warm air over the windows .
- Keep baseboards or heating vents clear of furniture to make sure the heat flows.
- Dry your window frames and sills daily to keep water from dripping and causing mould to grow.
- Leave interior doors open for good air and heat flow.
- Unplug and remove humidifiers.
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Issues That Cause Mold And Mildew
Moisture is the chief cause behind the growth of mold and mildew. Mold spores entering your home are inevitable this is difficult to stop. But you can stop the factors that help mold and mildew to grow. Besides moisture, lack of sunlight, poor ventilation, and dirt and debris can cause mold and mildew to grow. Because of this, mold and mildew tend to develop in the home:
- Under carpeting
How Can Mold Affect My Health
Many molds can cause health effects. Molds produce allergens, irritants and,sometimes, toxins that may cause adverse reactions in humans. A reaction tomold depends on how much a person is exposed to, the age of the person and thepersons sensitivities or allergies. The same amount of mold may causehealth effects in one person, but not in another.
Exposure to mold can cause a variety of symptoms. Sensitive people who havetouched or inhaled mold or mold spores may have allergic reactions such as arunny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, skin rash and itching. Molds can trigger asthma attacks in people who are allergic tomolds, causing wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. A diseaselike pneumonia may also develop after exposure to mold, but this is uncommon.
Infectious diseases from molds can occur in people with weakened immunesystems, such as those who are immune-compromised or immune-suppressed fromdrug treatment. Some types of mold are known to cause infections inimmune-compromised people. Such infections can affect the skin, eyes, lungs orother organs. These are considered opportunistic infections that usually do notaffect healthy people.
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Who Is At Risk
Its commonly assumed that mould causes the health problems described above, though the evidence for this is generally weaker than for dampness itself. This may be related to the fact that scientists are still struggling to accurately measure indoor mould exposures.
The WHO estimates that in cold climates, 15% of dwellings have signs of dampness and 5% have signs of mould problems. In warm climates, the estimates are 20% for dampness and 25% for mould.
Since dampness is more likely to occur in houses that are overcrowded and lack appropriate heating, ventilation and insulation, the prevalence of damp indoor problems in low-income communities and rental accommodation can be substantially higher.
Climate change and its effects on the weather are likely to further increase the proportion of buildings with damp problems.
Addressing Moisture And Mould In Your Home
Health Canada considers indoor mould growth to be a significant health hazard. The word mould is a common term referring to fungi that can grow on building materials in homes or other buildings. Damp conditions and mould growth in homes increases the risk of respiratory allergy symptoms and exacerbate asthma in mold-sensitive individuals. It is important to know how to identify, address and prevent moisture and mould in your home.
People living in homes with mould and damp conditions are more likely to have:
- eye, nose and throat irritation
- coughing and phlegm build-up
- wheezing and shortness of breath
- worsening of asthma symptoms
The level of concern depends on the extent of mould, how long it has been present and the sensitivity and overall health of the residents. Some people are more susceptible than others. For example, infants, children, the elderly and those with health problems such as breathing difficulties are more at risk from mould and dampness.
Any respiratory health concerns should be discussed with a physician if you suspect that these could be caused by poor indoor air quality. Your physician is best suited to determine if your symptoms may be related to environmental factors or some other underlying cause.
Health Canada recommends controlling dampness indoors and cleaning up any mould regardless of the type of mould presentFootnote 1.
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How Mold And Mildew Form
Mold and mildew need the right conditions for growth. To begin, they need mold spores as a type of seed. Spores grow with three factors: food , water, and oxygen. Increasing or decreasing any of these factors will cause mold and mildew to grow or die.
Spores land on the surface, germinate, and grow. Mold and mildew may start as early as 24 to 48 hours after the surface has been dampened. Mildew’s white-gray spots spread outward, not upward, remaining on the surface. Mold, though, eats into its baseâwhich makes it harder to removeâand sometimes grows upward.
Does Vinegar Kill Mold On Leather
Vinegar can be used to kill mold on leather. Anecdotally, many recommend diluting vinegar with a 1:1 ratio of water. You can apply the vinegar mix to a cloth to avoid over-moisturizing and potentially damaging the leather.
Vinegars acidity has the potential to damage some types of surfaces in your home. Dont use vinegar on:
- Stone countertops. Vinegar can dull and etch some stone surfaces like .
- Wooden floors. Flooring manufacturers often include warnings not to clean wooden floors with vinegar since it has the potential to break down the protective finish.
- Electronic screens. Vinegar has the potential to damage the anti-glare properties of some screens and may interfere with a touch screen.
- Some types of metals. Vinegar may corrode certain types of metals like aluminum and copper. Its often not recommended on stainless steel.
- Porous surfaces. Vinegar is unlikely to be effective at cleaning mold out of porous or absorbent surfaces. If you notice mold on ceiling tiles or carpet, youll likely need to replace them.
Before you clean the mold, its important to address the moisture problem that led to the mold growth in the first place. If you get rid of the mold without targeting the moisture, it will almost certainly grow back.
Once youve fixed the moisture problem, heres how you can use vinegar to remove the mold.
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I Heard About Toxic Molds And Black Molds That Grow In Homes And Other Buildings Should I Be Concerned About A Serious Health Risk To Me And My Family
There is always a little mold everywhere in the air and on many surfaces.
Certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins . Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. Not all fungi produce mycotoxins and even those that do will not do so under all surface or environmental conditions.
Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be. Any mold should be removed and the moisture source that helped it grow should be removed.
There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.
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Health Effects Of Mold On Adults Children And Pets
In the long term, mold can cause dangerous health problems for adults, children, and pets. If you suspect you or family members are suffering from mold exposure, talk to your doctor, pediatrician, or veterinarian.
If you think you need a mold inspection for your home or business, get in touch with us, and well get down to the source. Here at Branch Environmental, we know your health is your priority, and we see each mold inspection as an in-depth investigation.
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What To Do If You See Mold Or Mildew In Your Home
Mold occurs frequently in high-moisture areas like bathrooms and basements, and it can hide in dark corners, so its important to look for it during your regular cleaning, says Mary Cherry, a residential cleaning expert and owner of Evies Cleaning Company near Houston.
The key with mold is to catch it at the beginning and take care of the problem before it spreads.
Find Optimal Health And Wellness
If youre dealing with mysterious symptoms that you think could be related to mold exposure, dont lose hope. Contact us for an appointment and an individualized treatment plan to help you regain optimal health and wellness.
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2. Mold General Information: Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum CDC.. Accessed 6 Aug. 2019.
3. Molds, Mycotoxins and More | Surviving Mold.. Accessed 6 Aug. 2019.
4. The role and abatement of fungal allergens in allergic diseases .. Accessed 6 Aug. 2019.
5. Bacterial amplification and in-place carpet drying: implications NCBI.. Accessed 6 Aug. 2019.
6. Indoor Air Quality Explained | Welcome to Austin Air.. Accessed 6 Aug. 2019.
7. Mixed mold mycotoxicosis: immunological changes in humans NCBI.. Accessed 6 Aug. 2019.
8. Structural brain abnormalities in patients with inflammatory NCBI. 17 Jun. 2014, . Accessed 6 Aug. 2019.
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Can A Mouldy Bedroom Make You Sick
Mold inside your house can make you certainly sick, breathing in mold fragments or spores can inflame the air passages, creating a nasal blockage, wheezing, breast tightness, coughing, and throat inflammation. Long term exposure to high degrees of indoor dampness can decrease lung function and also cause persistent health issue such as bronchial asthma.
Eye Opening Statistics About Mold:
- A groundbreaking report from 2007 stated that scientists found a direct correlation between a high presence of mold in households and depression.
- Even more shockingly, studies have shown that the air inside our homes can be worse than the air outside. The average American spends around 90 percent of our time in enclosed buildings, and over 60% of our time in our houses.
- Scientists have identified over 1,000 types of mold and mildew inside houses in the United States.
- More than 100,000 types of mold exist!
- “Stachybotrys” is a highly-toxic type of mold that has been related to human death.
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How To Prevent Mold And Mildew
- Keep things clean.
- Increase ventilation in the affected area with exhaust fans.
- Install dehumidifiers to reduce humidity.
- Ensure that sources of natural ventilation such as windows remain open, if possible.
- Make sure that sources of mechanical venting such as HVAC vents remain open and unblocked.
- Inspect vents for clothes dryers and ensure that vents are clean and that they are attached.
The Effects Of Mold On Your Home And Your Health
We all know that mold in our homes is a bad thing but exactly how bad is it for your health and your home itself?
Mold grows by releasing its spores into the air, which are invisible to the naked eye. It can spread and grow anywhere as long as moisture and oxygen are present, but commonly grows on surfaces such as insulation, sheetrock, tile, fabrics and wood. It can enter your home through windows, vents and doorways or it can attach itself to clothing and pets and be carried inside. It might be a shock to learn that you can have hundreds or even thousands of mold spores in one cubic foot of air in your home.
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I Found Mold Growing In My Home How Do I Test The Mold
If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you cannot rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk.