There are a lot of local news stories about mold lately. Schools are being closed because of mold. Government agencies are being cleaned out entirely because of mold growth. Mold is taking over!
Okay, now let’s talk about mold. It’s disgusting. It smells bad. It can cause allergic reactions in humans. It will begin to decay objects that it is growing on or in. Mold is annoying, but more than that, since it can harm human health it is something we’ve begun to look at quite seriously.
Now let’s talk about what you can do about it if you have it growing inside your home or at your workplace. Are you doomed?
Of course not! Mold simply means that there is too much moisture present and moisture is what allows mold spores to take root. If there is a damp or moist area in your house and you don’t air it out then mold will develop.
Will it be the dangerous kind of mold?
Um, it will be any kind of mold that happens to be floating around in your environment. Dangerous and non-dangerous.
According to the EPA if you can see mold, then you don’t have to test to see what kind it is. Here is what they actually have on their website about mold-
Is sampling for mold needed? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Since no EPA or other federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building’s compliance with federal mold standards. Surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.
Okay, so there are no “federal mold standards”. And sampling is unnecessary because if one mold is growing visibly then the likelihood that another mold might take root is a reasonable guess and the more mold spores that take root in moist areas the worse the chances are that the mold that is growing is “safe” for humans. But that doesn’t mean that mold is something we should fear. It’s just something we should see to. And seeing to mold means drying wet or damp areas.
How do you do that? Well there are lots of ways to get rid of excess moisture. Dehumidifiers work as long as you keep them emptied and clean their tanks. Fans work. Towels work. Heaters work. Sunshine works. Fresh air works. Insulating cold spaces in warm spaces works.
There are also a lot of ways to get rid of moldy items. The problem with removing something that is moldy is that the spores are like a lot of spores. The slightest movement will send them blasting off the moldy surface in the hopes of finding another perfect substrate. But you gotta do what you gotta do! You have to remove the visible mold. The bad news is that once something like paper, or clothing or rugs or wall surfaces become mold ridden then the mold is in your environment. If the moisture levels increase again in that space guess what might happen!
I’m no specialist when it comes to mold remediation! If you have concerns about mold then my advice is to address them sooner than later. But I remember when we were all shaken by Radon gas…and then we figured out that it was a normal background gas that you really couldn’t do too much about. Then there was a concern with nitrites…and then lead paint freaked us out, and then asbestos almost killed us. I guess I’m trying to say that mold is just another scary thing in a long line of scary things that we should be smart about and maybe we shouldn’t panic so much about seeing evidence of mold.
Clean it. Dry the area. Have a nice life 🙂