What Is Mold?

Mold are a microscopic organisms found virtually everywhere indoors and outdoors. Mold spores are very tiny and lightweight. Mold spores found in indoor air can be produced by mold growing on damp or wet surfaces. In indoor environments, they can grow when air-conditioning ducts, wall, carpets, clothing and furniture get wet. In order for mold to grow indoors, it needs a food source (such as wood, wallboard, wallpaper, ceiling tiles, or carpet), a source of moisture and time to grow. Mold can produce and release millions of spores small enough to invade the human respiratory system. Mold growth can ruin and discolor household items. Mold growth can look white to orange and from green to brown and black. Mold can also cause expensive material damage to your home.

How Can someone be exposed to Mold?

There are several ways you can become exposed to mold:

• Breathing in the spores from the air.
• Skin contact from handling an item that has mold growing on it.
• Eating without properly washing your hands after handling
moldy objects.

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Where is mold found in home?

Mold can be found in several areas in the home environment. It appears most often in moist areas as little black circles or thread-like white objects. It is usually accompanied with a musty-type odor. Outdoors, mold plays a natural part in the environment by breaking down dead organic matter such as dead trees or fallen leaves. Mold reproduces by means of microscopic spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through the indoor and outdoor air. Mold begins to grow indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet or damp. Mold will not grow without water or moisture. Therefore, it is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Some examples of places where mold can be found inside the home include:

• Basements, kitchens (bottom of fridge), around bathroom vanities, washer/dryer area.
• The underside of carpets and pads
• The surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms)
• Ceilings and the top side of ceiling tiles
• Front and back side of drywall, wall paper or paneling
• Inside HVAC systems and duct work
• Clothing
• Food

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Get Rid of Mold

It is impossible to completely eliminate all mold and mold spores indoors. Mold will always be found floating in the air and in house dust. Indoor mold growth can be prevented by controlling water and moisture indoors. The following may prevent or reduce indoor mold growth:

•  Repair any water leaks
•  Provide good air circulation
•  All HVAC systems should have a good electrostatic filter on the return
•  Use bathroom, kitchen and laundry room exhaust fans
•  Insulate and ventilate attic and crawl space areas
•  Clean, dry or remove items that are damaged by
water immediately.

Real Estate Deals DO NOT Need To Be Broken!

If the home you are thinking about purchasing has mold, do not panic! You can remove unsual mold levels from the home, and bring it back to the original condition.

NOTE: If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean the mold, but do not fix the water problem, the mold will grow back.

If the contaminated area involved is very large, you may wish to consider hiring a professional. Check with your realtor or home inspector for a qualified company or call PRO-LAB  at 800.427.0550.

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Risks and How to Test

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores that we breathe when released. Mold spores can survive in harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth. Mildew (mold in early stage) and molds grow on wood products, ceiling tiles, cardboard, wallpaper, carpets, drywall, fabric, plants, foods, insulation, decaying leaves and other organic materials. Some of the common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria and Aspergillus.

Medical studies have found that mold is the #1 cause of allergic symptoms. Stachybotrys, the black mold found in home, office and school environments, has been linked to fatal pulmonary disorders. PRO-LAB‘s Home Mold Test Kits utilize patented laboratory analytical methods for accuracy and reliability. These home mold detection kits are user friendly with the option to send the results to our lab for further analysis of the specific type of mold found in your home.

Mildew allergy symptoms and mold allergy symptoms range from person to person. You may have year-round symptoms or symptoms that flare up only during certain times of the year. Those people who are more sensitive to molds and mildew will show mild to severe symptoms due to exposure. Mold allergy causes the same signs and symptoms that occur in other types of upper respiratory allergies. Common mold and mildew allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy, watery eyes, itchy nose, or a tickle or dryness in the back of the throat that makes you cough or clear your throat more than normal. You may notice symptoms when the weather is damp, or you’re in indoor or outdoor spaces that have high concentrations of mold. If you have a mold allergy and asthma, your asthma symptoms may be triggered by exposure to mold spores. In some people, exposure to certain molds can cause a severe asthma attack. Signs and symptoms of asthma are coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

Although not as common as those listed above, Stachybotrys chartarum (black mold) is a greenish-black mold that is very toxic and dangerous to those living with it. It can grow on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, such as fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth. The types of symptoms people get from exposure to black mold largely depend on their existing health status. Individuals who have family histories of allergies, for example, may get allergic rhinitis, producing hay fever–type effects. Patients with respiratory or immune system conditions may suffer complications of their diseases or host invasive infections that can be fatal. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these as well as otherwise healthy people can experience upper respiratory symptoms from breathing air in very wet environments where this rare mold grows. Our black mold home test kit can be analyzed at our PRO-LAB so we then can get back to you with our analysis of whether or not your home or office has black mold.

Allergic reactions to black mold include tight chest, asthma, coughing, sore throat, headache, upper-respiratory infections, nosebleeds and sinus congestion, according to the CDC. Some may experience sick building syndrome, characterized by skin irritation, tight chest, brain fog, fatigue, headache and mood swings. Symptoms appear when you are inside a building with black mold, but disappear once you leave it. If the black mold enters the body via a cut in the skin, a large wart structure can form. Black mold infection can also cause skin redness, swelling and pain or discoloration of the finger or toenails. Immune-compromised patients can contract severe pneumonia or sinusitis that does not respond to antibiotic medications, according the Emerging Pathogens Institute.

Since mold can also grow on carpet, you should beware of moisture collecting on a carpeted surface. If mold does form on your carpet, it is extremely important to get rid of. If you do not remove the source, carpet mold will continue to grow to the point that people in the home will get severely ill. Areas that have been soaked with water are the places that mold will usually occur where it has not been given an opportunity to dry completely. Wet carpet is a breeding ground for mold. The most effective way to remove mold in carpets is to remove the carpet completely, make sure the floor underneath is completely dry and vacuum up any mold spores remaining. If the carpet damage is not severe, you can remove the carpet yourself. You’ll need a carpet cleaner and a vacuum type device that is able to suck up the excess moisture from your carpet and, at the same time, clean the carpet with the integrated cleaning solution. An alternative way you could also try is to use vinegar, alcohol and a cleaning solution that’s made of detergent and warm water for your mold in carpet removal strategy.

Home mold testing is easy to do and a great, and cheaper, way for testing mold in a home. Once you have tried our do it yourself lab test kits, just send it in to us. We test mold collected with your kit to verify the type present. Once we’ve determined if your home has unsafe levels of mold in it, you can then take the necessary actions after that to remove it and begin living a much healthier and better life as you breathe in safer air.

Our kit is available if you want to do some residential mold testing, testing for toxic mold, or test your office space. The test kit offers three (3) different analytical sampling methods.

  • Method 1: (visual sampling) simply involves taking a sample of a visual mold growth.
  • Method 2: (HVAC air sampling) allows you to take an air sample of the air-conditioning or heating system
  • Method 3: (settling plate) allows you to take an air sample of a location which does not have an HVAC system.

After the 48 hour incubation period, you may choose to send your sample to PRO-LAB for a detailed analysis of the type of mold present. This information will be useful to determine an individual’s allergy treatment and the cleaning or removal of the mold. Buy the PRO-LAB Mold Test Kit by clicking here:

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