FAQ What Is Mould
What Is Mould?
Mould is the name given to a large variety of fungal growths that require moisture and organic matter to feed upon. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. The most common varieties found inside our homes include: Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Epicoccum, Penicillium and Rhodotorula. High relative humidity is required for germination and growth while lower humidity tends to increase the release of mould spores as a method for self preservation.
Where Can Mould Be Found?
In our homes mould can be found virtually anywhere including basements, kitchens, bathrooms, closets, clothing, carpeting, wallpaper, wall cavities, furniture, plants, food, etc. Mould can also develop in standing water such as improperly maintained humidifiers or condensation trays. Mould often flourishes in areas where it cannot be seen which is why so many people suffer from mould exposure symptoms even when there are no visible signs of mould or musty odours. Just because you can’t see it or smell it does not mean it isn’t there. The greater your exposure, the greater your risk of developing adverse health effects and possibly a permanent sensitivity (allergy) to mould. Mould is also found in great abundance outside on leaf piles, hay, dirt, plants and composts. Other locations of concern to mould sensitive individuals include: antique shops, greenhouses, saunas, farms, mills, construction areas, flower shops, and summer cottages.
Why Is Mould Dangerous?
Microscopic mould spores are easily transported in the air we breathe and can be bsorbed into our eyes, nose, throat and lungs. It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of us are allergic to mould and suffer adverse health effects because of it. Many are not aware that the symptoms they are experiencing are due to mould and could be controlled. In situations where mould exposure is unavoidable, sensitive people should wear a tight-fitting face mask. Mould can also cause building materials to decay or rot which leads to a variety of maintenance and structural problems.
What Are The Health Effects Of Mould?
Mould exposure can produce a large variety of symptoms which are often overlooked by people and physicians as common, everyday medical complaints. They include: depression, irritability, anger, fear, coughing, wheezing, runny eyes and nose, muscular aches, chills, fever, headaches, confusion, inability to concentrate, tiredness, fatigue, sleep disorders, hay fever allergy type symptoms, loss of appetite, skin rashes, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis and asthma. If you suspect exposure, seek the help of a qualified physician immediately and have your home or workplace tested as soon as possible.
If There Is A Problem How Do I Fix It?
Once the source(s) of contamination have been located, source treatment or removal is required. Most air filters or purifiers do not do an adequate job of removal to be effective. Once the offending materials have been removed or treated, it is very important to determine how the problem began so that action may be taken to prevent reoccurrence. Keep the humidity level in the house below 40%. Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months. Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans in kitchen and bathrooms. Clean bathrooms with mould killing products. Do not carpet bathrooms and basements. Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.
DO NOT USE
In some cases cleaning the affected areas with a mixture of borax and vinegar in a spray bottle works well. Other types of mould react better to bleach (1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water) or commercially sold mould inhibitors. If you see
any visible signs of mould growth, clean or remove the affected areas
immediately to prevent continued growth.