Mold Remediation and Your Health
Mold is a fact of life, and it can occur wherever there is moisture in a house. Bathrooms and cellars are two of the most obvious spots for mold to grow, but crawl spaces, chimney foundations and wall interiors are just a few of the other places in the home that are likely to host colonies of mold that aren’t always easily seen by the homeowner.
Not all mold is bad, and not all people who are exposed to the bad types of mold have adverse health reactions to the exposure. But most homeowners are aware enough of the potentially harmful effects of molds to consider that getting rid of it is a matter of common sense and preventative health care. Mold remediation, performed by professionals, is the most effective way to address this problem.
Mold and Health Problems
Allergies and asthma are two of the most common health problems associated with mold, whether mold has come in contact with skin or has been inhaled. Molds and airborne mold spores can produce allergic reactions that are similar to hay fever, including red, itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing, or a rash. Unlike hay fever, however, these symptoms are not seasonal and will continue as long as the sensitive individual is exposed to the mold.
Exposure to mold can cause asthma attacks in people who already suffer from chronic lung disease, creating tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. People with compromised immune systems who have had prolonged exposure to mold can develop infections of the digestive tract, the sinuses, the lungs or the skin.
What Can Be Done?
The best way to address this problem is to get professional mold remediation and rid your home of what is or may become a significant health issue. Mold remediation is more complex than simple mold removal or sanitation. It’s a professional process that does include those two actions, but there is much more to it than simply cleaning and removing areas of mold infiltration.
The Mold Remediation Process
- All the sources of the moisture that is aiding the mold growth must be found and repaired to keep the problem from recurring and to prevent new mold growth.
- The contaminated area must be contained, usually by closing any openings like doors or windows between the mold-contaminated space and the rest of the building and by taping thick plastic sheeting over doorways.
- Misting the treatment area will help stop dust from spreading mold spores.
- Removing all porous materials such as carpeting and ceiling tiles which are wet – even if they are not obviously mold-infected – and sealing the removed materials in thick plastic bags is crucial to the process. These materials will be properly disposed of by professionals doing the job.
- Surfaces that are non-porous must be cleaned thoroughly. A common way to do this is with a wire brush cleaning followed by scrubbing with a strong detergent solution, then rinsed with clean water. Contrary to popular opinion, bleach is not an effective biocide, and cannot be guaranteed to kill mold.
- The cleaned area is carefully checked to ensure it is completely free of any visible contamination, dirt, dust and debris. It may then be disinfected with a professional solution.
- Cleaned areas and materials must be dried enough for any remaining moisture to be able to evaporate; this often involves using standing fans or heaters to raise the air temperature.
- The areas where mold carrying materials have been removed and disposed of are then replaced or, where possible, repaired.
Once all mold has been professionally removed, the homeowner owner can be comfortable and secure in the knowledge that a potential health threat is gone.