If you live in South West Florida, then you are accustom to mold. Mold is a fungus where can be found in indoor and outdoor air. High humidity areas such as showers, storage sheds and northern parts of buildings are where mold is most commonly found. Mold has micro-spores, which are spread easily through the air, water and even carried by insects. The spores are actually micro seeds that travel by even the slightest movement of air to form new colonies.
A constant water supply is ideal to promote mold growth, typically from sewage or pipe leaks. Also, Building materials such as wood, drywall and even dust combined with high humidity and moisture produce enough food sources for mold to multiply.
There is always some level of mold in the air. This is why it’s so easy for mold to quickly multiply with high humidity areas where moisture or other water source is present.
Allergic reactions are the most likely cause of exposure to mold.
People with chronic illnesses are the most accessible to mold exposure which could cause infections and a break down of their immune system. Currently there are controversial medical and scientific debates regarding the exact effects of toxic mold. However, allergic reaction is considered a most likely effect related to toxic mold.
According to the Florida Department of Health Department, testing to evaluate a mold problem is not recommended. Nor is it recommended to test for mold types that might be growing in your home.
Indoor mold growth can usually be seen or smelled. A musky smell is usually is a good indication of the present of mold. Look for a cottony, wet slime, grassy or velvety growth with many different colors. Signs of water leaks, standing water, water stains and even condensation is a place for possible mold growth. Also, around air conditioners, drain pans and drain lines could be a constant water source for mold development. The smell of musk is a dead giveaway of a potential mold problem; especially you have allergic reactions to low levels of mold.
There are many types of molds.
If indoor mold has been living and growing in a home for a substantial amount of time, it could develop and release a chemical called mycotoxins. This type of mold is also known as toxic mold or black mold. Stachybotrys chartarum is also called black mold and may produce mycotoxins. This type of mold grows on sheet-rock, tiles and wood from excessive moisture or water-damages. Although this type of mold growth looks the deadliest, the spores are usually covered by wet slime preventing from being air born. There had also been controversial reports that toxic mold in your home causes rare health problems.
Knowing the type of mold is unnecessary. If you see or smell mold in your home, then find and stop the water source, remove or promptly arrange for the removal of visible mold. All molds should be treated equally and be removed.
Removing mold by stopping the water source is the first step. After sealing existing water source, remove any moldy materials. Chemicals like bleach are only used after the moldy materials are removed. By stopping the water source, removing moldy materials and cleaning around the surfaces with a bleach solution should eliminate mold for good. If the job is too big, then you may hire a contractor. The contractor does not have to be a licensed mold remediation specialist. However, the contractor should follow the recommendations of the IPA. If you suspect the air conditioning being contaminated with mold, then have the air ducks professionally cleaned out. Always consult with a doctor before starting your own clean up.
Most black mold immediately found in and around your shower, rarely produce mycotoxins. Many types of molds are black. Although the Florida Department of Health does not recommend, trained specially licensed professionals can only identify Stachybotrys cultures. Again, all indoor mold growth should be promptly removed, regardless of type.
Currently there are no tests proving Stachybotrys cultures found in building produce toxins. Also, there are no blood or urine tests determining if Stachybotrys chartarum spores or its toxins have been exposed or not. For more information contact the Florida Department of Health, Collier County (239) 774-8200.
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