General Information About Mold and It’s Consequences
Solutions to mold and moisture problems require UNDERSTANDING…
- “Indoor Air Quality” is a complicated and controversial subject. Because the quality of indoor air may present direct health consequences, it is an ongoing research subject in the medical community, construction industries, real estate associations, building trades, and health departments locally and at a national level.
- “Indoor Air Quality” involves exposure to all sorts of biological entities including mold and fungus, bacteria, mites, roaches and viruses along with their decomposed parts; naturally derived, fuel combustion and radioactive gases; dust, lead, and any number of other environmental pollutants so far identified.
- Mold, Mold Infestation, Mold Acceleration are important subjects within an understanding of “Indoor Air Quality”. Mold, a colloquial name for Fungus, has been associated with many aggravating, serious and even deadly health consequences.
Solutions are formulated from INVESTIGATION Findings…
Developing a Solution Plan based on findings of an investigation report involves a variety of considerations. Some of the things to think about are:
- The nature of the defect, failure or building science problem causing the complaint.
- The confirmed presence of biological or other pollutants.
- The scope, breadth and depth.
- The cost of abatement, remediation or repair.
- The goals of the property owner.
Solutions begin with INVESTIGATION…
- Recognition of a Problem is usually the first step of an investigation. Problems may first surface through health related concerns, funny smells or even obvious growth of substances on surfaces. Preliminary investigation can be undertaken by a home owner, a landlord or property manager. Numerous guides (EPA A Brief Guide: Mold Moisture and Your Home) are available to assist home owners in evaluating a mold and/or moisture related problem.
- Investigation through Inspection is a necessary and critical action in formally determining an “Indoor Air Quality” problem. Many homeowners are unaware that their indoor air may possess health risk pollutants. Inspection, performed by a qualified individual, utilizes measurement and investigation tools suitable for determining the nature of the “Indoor Air Quality” problem.
- Inspection delivers an Assessment (Inspection Report) which outlines the findings of the inspection. Findings are dependent on the requirements of the purchaser, the nature of the complaint(s), the measurement tools so indicated by the complaint, and the overall scope of the investigation.
- An Inspection Report assists in Solution Options On the basis of findings in an inspection report, options for solving the problem can be formulated. Often called abatement or remediation, solutions generally involve fixing the cause of the air quality problem first followed by abatement, repair or replacement of damaged or infected structural components, cleaning and remediating the consequences of problem.
Recognizing an Indoor Air Quality Concern
Is there a health concern with asthma, allergies or other health symptom?
- Does anyone in the family have frequent headaches, fevers, itchy watery eyes, a stuffy nose, dry throat, or a cough? Does anyone complain of feeling tired or dizzy all the time? Is anyone wheezing or having difficulties breathing on a regular basis?
- Did these symptoms appear after you moved to a new or different home?
- Do the symptoms disappear when you go to school or the office or go away on a trip, and return when you come back?
- Have you recently remodeled your home or done any energy conservation work, such as installing insulation, storm windows, or weather stripping? Did your symptoms occur during or after these activities?
- Does your home feel humid? Can you see moisture on the windows or on other surfaces, such as walls and ceilings?
- What is the usual temperature in your home? Is it very hot or cold?
- Have you recently had water damage?
- Is your basement wet or damp?
- Is there any obvious mold or mildew?
- Does any part of your home have a musty or moldy odor?
- Is the air stale?
- Do you have pets?
- Do your house plants show signs of mold?
- Do you have air conditioners or humidifiers that have not been properly cleaned?
- Does your home have cockroaches or rodents?
- Is there a funny, odd, musty smell in residence?
- Do you see some sort of growth on walls, ceiling, in attic or crawl space?
- Is there softness of structural members – around toilet, dish washer?
- Unexplained moisture and wetness
People at Greatest Risk from Mold
The following groups of people may be at greater risk than others for mold:
- Infants and children
- The elderly
- People with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory (breathing) conditions
- People with weakened immune systems (such as people with HIV infection, cancer patients taking chemotherapy, and people who have received an organ transplant)
Any person at risk from mold should not be in an area that is likely to be contaminated with mold.
Possible Health Effects of Mold Exposure
- Stuffy nose, irritated eyes, or wheezing can occur in people who are sensitive to molds.
- Wheezing, difficulty in breathing, and shortness of breath can be an allergic reaction to mold and can sometimes be severe.
- Skin reactions can develop.
- Mold infections can develop in the lungs of people with weakened immune systems and with chronic lung diseases such as obstructive lung disease.