#1 Dee

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17 September 2010 - 09:31 AM


September is “Mold Awareness Month.” Really. Mold can pose a serious health hazard for individuals with respiratory problems. According to the Center for Disease Control, (CDC), there are many types of mold, and some people have allergic reactions to them. Symptoms can include nasal stuffiness, skin or eye irritation, hives, wheezing, fever, and shortness of breath. Further, according to the CDC, “Some people with chronic lung diseases, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.”

Mildew is closely related to mold in that they both are fungi. They have similarities as well as differences. Although mold is being discussed here, much of what is covered also applies to mildew as well. If you want a description of the differences between mold and mildew, please visit:

Mold is virtually everywhere, according to the CDC. It is spread by lightweight spores. It is both indoors and outdoors, and can be a problem all year long. Outdoors, it can be anywhere there is moisture and matter upon which to grow. Fallen leaves are often cited as a major location of mold. Indoors, mold can grow anywhere there is moisture and something upon which to feed – which can be just about anything. For CDC’s full explanation of mold as well as recommendations on how to deal with it, visit:

Outdoor Mold
According to a 2007 article on the “Beyond Allergy” website, outdoor molds are everywhere, especially in moist shady areas such as soil, leaves, compost piles, wood, etc. Although the spores can be released throughout the year, a large number of spores are released when the source is disturbed. For those who react to mold spores, “Beyond Allergy” recommends, ““When outdoors, avoid walking through decaying vegetation, compost piles, and fallen leaves because you might inhale mold spores. Avoid doing yard work, such as lawn mowing and raking leaves on a hot, humid day. Avoid farms, especially during harvest time when mold spores could be growing around the barn or under a stack of hay. And wear a face mask outdoors if possible.” For more information, please see:

Indoor Mold
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is impossible to eliminate mold spores indoors. They enter your home through doorways, windows, ventilation systems and even on clothing, bags, pets, etc. Although they are always present, they will not grow unless there is moisture present. Basements and bathrooms are often problematic locations. The key to controlling indoor mold, according to the EPA and other experts, is to control indoor moisture. The EPA as well as the CDC offer mold prevention and control tips that collectively include:

* Remedy spills and leaks quickly (within 24 or 48 hours)
* Dry wet surfaces when condensation appears
* Fix leaky roofs, windows and pipes
* Clean and repair roof gutters regularly
* Divert water so that it does not collect around your home’s foundation
* Keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (between 30 and 50 percent is best)
* Vent shower, laundry and cooking areas
For more information, see:
http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html and/or

Mold Cleanup Options
If you are thinking about cleaning up a mold problem in your home on your own, you should speak with your doctor about it and discuss not only the problem of exposure to the mold itself, but also exposure to the cleaning supplies, some of which might also cause respiratory problems. For more serious, extensive, or unusual mold problems, hiring a professional is recommended by the EPA. For informational purposes only, this is what the Wisconsin Department of Health Services suggests for cleaning mold:

The Bleach-Hoax Story
There are a number of websites that claim that bleach doesn’t soak into porous surfaces or it only whitens the visible surface of mold. The effect of using bleach, they say, is largely cosmetic, and gives the false impression that the mold has been eradicated. Efforts to substantiate or refute this so-called “bleach-hoax” claim through independent, objective sources were unsuccessful.

Mold Map
In the United States, you can determine your mold count as well as other allergy and health related conditions on a number of different websites, one of which is:


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