Mildew or mold (also known as black mold or toxic mold) is a type of fungi that develops and grows on surfaces in the form of powdery or downy substance. Humid/damp surfaces incombination with a very moderate temperature and sufficient amount of light provide the best conditions for mold growth. The toxic mold grows on walls, wood, clothes, food, carpets or any article such sofa (made of leather) etc. The mold growth is not confined only to walls, clothes and surfaces of furniture, it also can grow inside the equipments like air conditioners, HVAC systems etc.
The humidity level/dampness (which is the most important factor for mold growth) on the various surfaces is caused due to many conditions such as leak in the surface causing water to drip and form a damp surface, sufficient humidity in surrounding environment, condensation phenomenon etc.
What are the signs of Mold?
- Moisture on the surfaces: Moisture or dampness on surfaces (of wall, wood, clothes etc.) can be treated as very first sign of mold growth (although moisture does not mean mold formation and growth, it is a very important condition for mold formation).
- Stains on the wall: Yellowish stains on the wall caused due to moisture helps initial growth of mold. Look out for the greenish, blackish or brownish colored patches on the damp wall that characterizes mold growth.
- Odor: Mildew or musty odors is one of the most prominent sign of mold growth. If you experience a musty odor near damp/humid surfaces, you should look out for the other signs of mold growth.
- Respiratory system response in the people: If you or anyone staying in the house is hypersensitive to change in surrounding environmental conditions and experience some kind of allergic reaction or respiratory system related problems when you/the person is inside the house, then in that case there is a possibility of high mold growth.
- Poisoning due to mold: Poisoning due to the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) formed by mold is one of the most prominent sign of potential mold growth.
Black Mold Poisoning
After mold formation, it needs nutrition to grow, which it obtains by degrading the surface it is growing on. During the process of degrading surface for nutrition, mold causes formation of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These VOCs are harmful to human respiratory and nervous systems.
If a person is subjected to high exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) formed by mold, it affects human respiratory and central nervous systems and causes irritation to mucous membranes.
Symptoms of black mold poisoning:
Common symptoms of black mold poisoning are:
- Uneasiness in respiration
- Red eyes
- Development of rashes and hives on skin
- Memory loss
- In some cases, people experience bleeding in lungs
- Lack in concentration
- Problem caused due to irritation in mucous membranes
- Allergic reactions (such as itching of nose, runny nose etc.) of respiratory and/or nervous system etc
- Irregularity in blood pressure
- Damaged digestion and respiratory system
- Infections of urinary track, problems in urination etc.
- Pain in liver and other internal organs
- High level or prolonged exposure to mold can lead to infertility in the patient
How mold can be controlled? (Tips for controlling mold problem)
- Moisture is one of the most important factor for the growth of mold. By making it sure that the level of moisture is under check you can keep molds at bay. (Relative humidity i.e. RH can help in finding out when you need to dehumidify your building/house)
- If there is any water leakage/intrusion, pipe leak, roof leak, condensation problem etc; it should be prevented first.
- Ensure the air conditioners, HVAC systems, and air/ventilation ducts are clean. Normally mold formed in these systems are more dangerous as it easily escapes the human eye inspection.
- Bathrooms are the most prone places for mold formation and growth. The tiles, curtains and appliances inside the bathrooms should be properly cleaned/removed in order to avoid mold formation.
- If possible, use air purifiers to cleanse the air inside your house. Air purifiers can help in reducing the airborne particles of mold spores.
If you want to know a way to fix this problem all in one. Its easy. Ventilation. This is the number was to eliminate excess and unhealthy moisture from your home once and for all!