Household Mold & Mushroom

By Marlene Affeld

Mold, also known as mildew, is a living fungus and a part of a common group of micro-organisms that often serve a helpful and vital role in the environment. This group includes fungi such as yeast and penicillin. However, mold can develop on food, making it unsuitable to consume. Mold (filamentous fungi) can grow in damp places in the home such as shower stalls, basements, crawl spaces and kitchens. Mushrooms or other small fungal growth can also develop in humid households.

How Mold Enters Our Homes

Mold spores are everywhere around us, entering our homes invisibly on people's skin, clothing, through heating and ventilation, open doors, windows and on the fur of pets. Although some mold spores can live at temperatures below freezing, the majority of mold thrives when humidity is more than 60 percent and the temperature is between 55 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Invisible Mold Danger

Mold may be present in your home even if you cannot see it, hidden inside walls or behind baseboards. Sometimes the only indication of mold is a vague moldy or musty odor. Mold may be hidden behind wallpaper, drywall or paneling, under carpeting or flooring. Mold often grows inside of walls where water has leaked or condensation builds up. Homes in hot, humid climates are constantly subject to mildew and mold growth.

Mold Damage

Mold and mildew (mold growing on fabric) spores destroy whatever they are growing on. If you have mold evident in your home, act quickly to prevent further damage. Mold disintegrates the structure it grows upon.

Health Concerns

Black toxic mold produces toxic chemicals (mycotoxins) that can damage health and deplete energy. Mycotoxins are evident on the spores and released into the air. Many people are highly allergic to mold and mildew spores. Contact your health care provider if anyone in your household presents allergy-related symptoms such as: runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, coughing, wheezing, itching, skin irritations, headache, difficulty breathing and fatigue.

Mold Removal

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you contact a professional mold removal company for clean-up of areas larger than 10 square feet. Small areas around leaky pipes or drains can be cleaned with household bleach. Saturate the area with bleach and rinse with clear water. It is impossible to eliminate mold spores in the air. Mold requires moisture to survive. The best way to control moisture is to control humidity and provide adequate air circulation.

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