Mold exposure does not always present a health problem indoors. However some people are sensitive to molds. These people may experience symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation when exposed to molds. Some people may have more severe reactions to molds. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Immunocompromised persons and persons with chronic lung diseases like COPD are at increased risk for opportunistic infections and may develop fungal infections in their lungs.
How to Remove Molds?
In most cases mold can be removed from hard surfaces by a thorough cleaning with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Absorbent or porous materials like ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpet may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. If you have an extensive amount of mold and you do not think you can manage the cleanup on your own, you may want to contact a professional who has experience in cleaning mold in buildings and homes. It is important to properly clean and dry the area as you can still have an allergic reaction to parts of the dead mold and mold contamination may recur if there is still a source of moisture.
If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:
1. Never mix bleach with ammonia. Mixing bleach and ammonia can produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
2. Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
3. Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
4. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.
Specific Recommendations to prevent Mold:
1. Keep humidity level in house between 40% and 60%.
2. Use air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
3. Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans in kitchen and bathrooms.
4. Use mold inhibitors which can be added to paints.
5. Clean bathroom with mold-killing products.
6. Do not carpet bathrooms.
7. Remove and replace flooded carpets.
Toxic mold spores can become airborne during the cleaning. Before cleanup begins, the affected area should be contained and HVAC systems should be shut down to prevent the spores from spreading.
Each area affected by mold should be separately contained. Use plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal doorways, vents, and other openings.
Where possible, place an exhaust fan in a window that is open to the outdoors to direct air flow and mold spores outside.
To limit health risks and reduce the spread of mold spores ensure dust levels are kept to a minimum. Air purifiers and /or Ionizers can be used to minimize airborne particulate.