Take A Deep Breath – Smell That Mold?


What you need to know about Mold.

While the debate continues on whether mold is a significant threat, we know that exposure to mold spores in large quantities present a health hazard to humans. Susceptibility to the adverse effects of mold varies from individual to individual. Symptoms vary from mild allergic reactions, respiratory problems, to brain damage and death in extreme cases. The elderly, children and those with weakened immune systems, asthma, or allergies are most at risk.

So, what do we need to learn to avoid mold indoors and minimize exposure to occupants?

The primary conditions that allow for mold growth are: a temperature range between 40°F (4.4°C) and 100°F (37.8°C), nutrients (organic matter), and water (humidity will suffice).

Mold grows on any surface with nutrients and on porous materials that allow for moist conditions. Mold nourishes on organic matter including cellulose. Cellulose is an abundant organic compound normally found in plants. Many building materials including, wood, paper/paperboard, insulation, fabrics, and adhesives contain cellulose.

Mold is found almost everywhere in outdoor and indoor environments. Molds reproduce by means of spore release. Mold spores can be thought of as tiny little seeds that float around in the air and begin growing when they land on wet surfaces or moist environments. Closing windows and doors will not stop mold spores from being introduced into the building. Mold spores can be brought into any space via occupants, clothing and other items.

So, if mold is found everywhere and building conditions and materials provide excellent sources of nutrition and growth, how can we stop mold from growing indoors? The solution is moisture control. Moisture is the only condition that enables mold growth that we can control. Interior building temperatures are always kept within the 40-100°F range where mold prospers and organic compounds are always present in buildings to provide mold with nutrients. Understanding sources of moisture in buildings or homes such as condensation and water intrusion resulting from leaks and floods will help prevent moisture accumulation. Even if water intrusion could not be prevented, early identification and action will help prevent mold growth or minimize mold damage. Most molds only need 1-2 days to begin growing on wet surfaces. Presence of mold indoors always indicates excess water and moisture issues. Mold can be temporarily removed, but without addressing the source of moisture mold will continue to be a problem.

Essel Environmental has trained & certified personnel (CIH, CMC) that can assist you with your Indoor Air Quality concerns. Don’t hesitate to contact our offices to find out how we can help.