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Mold Frequently Asked Questions

Why is mold growing in my home?

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. Outdoor molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. However, indoor mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores. When the spores land on surfaces that are damp or moist such as basements or showers, mold begins to grow.

Can mold cause health problems?

Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to mold can cause minor symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing or skin irritation. Others have more severe reactions such as hay fever and shortness of breath. Individuals that have chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs. There have been studies done that suggest a potential link between early mold exposure to the development of asthma in some children.

How do I get rid of mold?

Since mold growth is encouraged by warm, humid, damp conditions, it is important to keep humidity levels as low as you can. The use of an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months can assist with lowering mold production. Other steps that can be taken to inhibit mold production is to clean bathrooms or other damp areas with mold killing products. It is recommended never to carpet bathrooms or basements.

Who should do the cleanup?

If you have found mold in your bathroom or basement, what do you do now? If the moldy area is less than 10 square feet, you can probably handle the job yourself. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends a mixture of 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water to clean mold growth effectively from hard surfaces. However, if there have been a lot of water damage or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, consult the EPA's (Environmental Protection Agency) Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings Guide. As you will need to enlist the services of a professional to do the cleanup, in the latter case, make certain that the contractor has experience in mold cleanup.
If the water and/or mold damage is a result of sewage or other contaminate water, a professional who is experienced in cleaning and repairing buildings damage by contaminated water is needed. The health and safety of you and your family should be your utmost concern. If you have any health concerns, consult a health professional prior to initiating any cleanup efforts.
For more information, read the EPA's A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.
The above information is provided as a public service by the Environmental Protection Agency for educational purposes.
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