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Mold

Mold

Facts, Information and Resources

Molds are fungi that can be found in virtually every environment, indoors and outdoors, year round. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.

Research has found that damp building conditions can lead to respiratory illnesses in occupants. Dampness in buildings can occur for a variety of reasons such as high indoor humidity, condensation, and roof leaks.

People who are sensitive to mold may experience stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing, or skin irritation. People allergic to mold may have difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath. People with weakened immune systems and with chronic lung diseases, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs. If you or your family members have health problems after exposure to mold, contact your doctor or other health care provider.

If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic and dangerous fumes.
  • Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
  • Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
  • If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document also applies to other building types. You can get it by going to the EPA mold remediation web site found in the resources section below.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.

Specific Recommendations:

  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%--all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
  • Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
  • Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
  • Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.

For more detailed information on mold, please consult the following resources: