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Yes, mold spores are everywhere. So why do people get so worried when they find it in their homes or businesses? Consider mold like a weed. Weeds are just plants, but they become “weeds” when they grow where they aren’t desired. Even Queen Anne’s Lace is a weed when it takes root in your vegetable garden instead of along the roadside in the country. Mold is much the same.
There are many types of mold that inhabit our environment, and they provide very beneficial functions, assisting Mother Nature as she decomposes materials to bring them back to the Earth. But if it appears on the structural wood inside your home, mold becomes more than a nuisance. It can cause problems.
Even when they are found inside, molds spores are not a problem unless they start growing, which they can do if they land on a wet or damp spot, have an organic food source (like wood, paper, or even dust) and have the right temperatures and still air. Then they can cause potential health problems as well as degradation of the materials on which they grow. While some people may be fine near a moldy area, many others at least find that mold produces allergens that irritate them, causing sneezing, runny noses and red eyes. But others can also have more severe allergic reactions, with headaches, fevers, skin rashes and even asthma attacks. Over time, those living and working in such a contaminated environment can develop allergies or asthma, even if they didn’t suffer previously.
It’s not usually the actual molds that cause the worst reactions. It’s the mycotoxins that molds produce. These substances are the protein coverings on the outside of mold spores. By their very nature, these substances are toxic or they wouldn’t do their job protecting the spores. Dead fragments of mold hyphae (the plant-like structure of mold) as well as these substances left behind, still have the potential to be hazardous. It’s for this reason you can’t just spray a mold with bleach and call it quits. The bleach or even an antimicrobial spray may seem to make the mold vanish, but it’s still there. And so are those mycotoxins. (They aren’t living things, they are substances produced by them.)
What types of mold should you be concerned about if they appear inside? Well, it depends. And depending on the region in which you live, the types of mold that are prevalent will be different. If you’re allergic to very common molds like aspergillus types, you’d be worried about it as much as the next person would be concerned to see the dreaded stachybotrys that has been covered as the “dangerous black mold” in the Media. Many homeowners can clean and treat small areas of common molds or mildews themselves confidently. It’s when you have a compromised immune system to mold, the contamination is heavy, it’s an especially toxic type, or it’s widespread that you should consult a professional.
Regardless of the health issues, molds and microbial contamination also cause odors that humans find offensive. Odors are most effectively removed by removing their sources, so that’s another reason to consider molds a problem.
Last, and most importantly, mold will only grow with moisture. If you have mold, you have another problem. It’s a tell-tale sign of a structural problem of some kind that is causing the excess moisture. Left alone, those issues will not only let mold regrow, even if properly removed, but they will also cause more structural damage, rotting, additional leakage, and even attract pests. Always, always treat mold as an indicator of problems to be corrected, so you can protect your property investment.
And if you need assistance with proper mold remediation, don’t hesitate to contact reputable professionals like CATCO, Catastrophe Cleaning and Restoration Company. Watch for Part 2, “Got Mold? Who do you Call?” in this blog series coming soon!