There is always some mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. Molds have been on the Earth for millions of years. Mold grows where there is moisture.
Mold and Your Health
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.
In addition, in 2004 the IOM found sufficient evidence to link exposure to damp indoor environments in general to upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people and with asthma symptoms in people with asthma. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking exposure to damp indoor environments in general to shortness of breath, to respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children and to potential development of asthma in susceptible individuals. In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould Cdc-pdf . Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies, but more research is needed in this regard.
A link between other adverse health effects, such as acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants, memory loss, or lethargy, and molds, including the mold Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra), has not been proven. Further studies are needed to find out what causes acute idiopathic hemorrhage and other adverse health effects.
Mold and Your Home
Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets can and be carried indoors. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery. Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and government agencies do not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you can not rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk. Also, good sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set.
You Can Control Mold
Inside your home you can control mold growth by:
- Controlling humidity levels;
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes;
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding;
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
If mold is growing in your home, you need to clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water.
The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth.
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 fumes.
- Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
- Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.
If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, it is recommended that you call a professional. You can also 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 web site at https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-remediation-schools-and-commercial-buildings-guideExternal
Mold Prevention Tips
- 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.
- Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
Information obtained from: https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm
For CDC and EPA on mold cleanup, removal and remediation, Click Here
If you find a large amount of mold in your home (more than 10 Square Feet:
If you want to Hire a Mold Inspector
If you find mold growing on drywall, trim, or unfinished wood surfaces, and especially if the affected area is more than 10 square feet, hire a mold investigator to discover the root and extent of the problem. They’ll also be able to direct you to a reliable mold remediation company. Reputable companies work with third-party inspectors instead of doing the inspection themselves.
But be sure to check credentials when hiring an inspector. The mold industry is largely unregulated, but there are guidelines to help you know when you’re hiring a true professional:
- Qualified inspectors should have an undergraduate (at least) degree in a science or engineering field and have completed industry-approved coursework in mold investigation, preferably from the American Board of Industrial Hygiene or the American Council for Accredited Certification (formerly the American Indoor Air Quality Council).
- They should bear respected industry credentials, such as CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist) or CIEC (Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant).
- They should work independently of a mold remediation company (reputable remediation companies hire a third-party inspector) and shouldn’t sell mold-related products.
- They should provide a customized report that includes lab results of air or surface samples taken.
- They shouldn’t hype one species of mold as more dangerous than another.
- They should tell you whether a mold problem has a DIY solution, or whether you must hire a professional mold remediation expert.
Expect to spend $200 to $600 for a site visit from a qualified inspector, which will take 2 to 5 hours. The inspector will take air samples and may open up walls to find mold. Analyzing air samples isn’t cheap and, depending on the lab used, can cost $30 to $150 for each sample. Some inspectors roll sampling into their base price; others don’t. So make sure you ask.
Not every mold issue requires sampling. If you can see mold, sampling is necessary only if you must identify the actual mold species for medical or legal reasons. However, if you think mold is present but can’t actually see it, samples can confirm your suspicions. Also, sampling typically is used after cleanup to verify success. Ask inspectors to explain why they’re taking samples and what hypothesis they’re trying to confirm. If the cleanup is simple enough to perform yourself, a mold inspector can advise you on procedures, protective equipment, and tools. The inspector should also be able to pinpoint the moisture issue that led to the mold problem so that you can correct it.
Warning: Don’t even think about diagnosing your mold problems with a home testing kit. They don’t work. They’ll probably reveal some mold, but only because spores are always flying through the air. These kits can’t:
- Guarantee a statistically significant sample of air.
- Confirm the presence of dead mold spores (which also cause health problems).
- Determine baseline levels of mold in your home in order to compare results with other non-mold-infected areas.
What A Mold Remediation Professional Will Do
Mold remediation companies will clean up your mold in a few days if just some washing and removing carpet is involved, or in a few weeks if demolition and rebuilding is required.
Generally, the cleanup process entails:
- Removing water-damaged, mold-infested materials.
- Cleaning and disinfecting walls, carpet, and personal items.
- Removing drywall and studs if mold damage is extensive.
- Vacuuming with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filtration.
If mold infestation is severe and you are mold-sensitive, you may have to live elsewhere during cleanup.
Remediation costs vary depending on how much and where mold exists. Figure on:
- $500 to $4,000 to remove mold from crawlspaces only.
- $2,000 to $6,000 to remove mold from ducts, crawl spaces, walls, and attics.
- $10,000 to $30,000 (or more) to repair widespread structural damage.
Does Insurance Cover Mold Remediation?
Don’t presume your homeowners insurance will pay to fix your mold problems. Insurance typically pays if the problem results from an emergency already covered on your policy, like a burst pipe, but not if mold resulted from deferred maintenance, persistent moisture or seepage, or from floodwaters (unless you have flood insurance).
Check with your insurance agent to see if your particular mold problem is covered.
Local Mold Remediation Contractors in Kansas and Missouri:
AAS Restoration & Roofing LLC (816) 861-1550/(866) 933-7952 Address: 3131 Wheeling Ave, Kansas City, MO, 64129
ALM Environmental Services & Construction, LLC 660-924-4256/ 816-456-0000 1146 SE 460th Road
Clinton, MO 64735
Certified Water and Mold (816) 835-4959/(800) 510-7968 Address: 2021B E Spruce Circle, Olathe, KS, 66062
FreshStart 816-287-4107 913-738-9040 Lees Summit, Missouri 64081
Frontier Restoration (913) 800-4980 2007 E Prairie Cir, Olathe, KS 66062
Help You Dry (844) 435-7379, Olathe KS 66062
Moldman Kansas City (816) 256-2499 119 W Gregory Blvd #8470, Kansas City, MO 64114
NCRI – National Catastrophe Restoration, Inc (913) 663-4111 8065 Flint St, Lenexa, KS 66214
Thunder Abatement (913) 548-6400 609 S Fir St, Olathe, KS 66061
Titan Environmental Services (913) 432-5500 2418 Merriam Ln, Kansas City, KS 66106
For the removal and safe containment of Mold, ABCO Supply has everything you need:
Mold Containment: Cut down the risk of the mold spreading through containment, negative pressure and through signage
Personal Protective Wear: Protect yourself from harmful mold
Mold Removal and Drying: Remove mold from the air and dry areas after flood and water damage.