Los Angeles Mold Inspector Talks About Mold & Your Health
Left untreated, mold will spread throughout your property not only destroying the walls and framework of your home, but it will also contaminate your furniture, carpet, electronics, and clothes. If mold is not detected early, your personal property may be completely destroyed.
Mold will not only cause significant damage to your home or property, but can also attack your immune system causing serious health problems. It is the cumulative breathing in of airborne mold spores over time in a moldy home, apartment or workplace which causes the most serious mold health problems for occupants. If mold is found, extreme caution must be taken to ensure that it does not cause any long term detrimental effects to your health. Please avoid contact with mold and consult a professional if mold is found in your home or property.
Ninety four percent (94%) of all respiratory ailments are caused by polluted air according to the American Medical Association, which also reported that one-third of our national health bill is for causes directly attributable to indoor air pollution.
The U.S. Government Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns people that "Most people are aware that outdoor air pollution can damage their health but may not know that indoor air pollution can also have significant effects. EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be 2-5 times, and occasion more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. These levels of indoor air pollutants are of particular concern because it is estimated that most people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors. In recent years, comparative risk studies performed by EPA and its Science Advisory Board (SAB) have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health."
Molds are part of the natural environment. Molds are fungi that can be found anywhere - inside or outside - throughout the year. About 1,000 species of mold can be found in the United States, with more than 100,000 known species worldwide.
Outdoors, molds play an important role in nature by breaking down organic matter such as toppled trees, fallen leaves, and dead animals. We would not have food and medicines, like cheese and penicillin, without mold.
Indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Problems may arise when mold starts eating away at materials, affecting the look, smell, and possibly, with the respect to wood-framed buildings, affecting the structural integrity of the buildings.
Molds can grow on virtually any substance, as long as moisture or water, oxygen, and an organic source are present. Molds reproduce by creating tiny spores (viable seeds) that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores continually float through the indoor and outdoor air.
Molds are usually not a problem unless mold spores land on a damp spot and begin growing. They digest whatever they land on in order to survive. There are molds that grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods and insulation, while other molds feast on the everyday dust and dirt that gather in the moist regions of a building.
When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth often will occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains uncorrected. While it is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores, controlling moisture can control indoor mold growth.
All molds share the characteristic of being able to grow without sunlight; mold needs only a viable seed (spore), a nutrient source, moisture, and the right temperature to proliferate. This explains why mold infestation is often found in damp, dark, hidden spaces; light and air circulation dry areas out, making them less hospitable for mold.
Molds gradually damage building materials and furnishings. If left unchecked, mold can eventually cause structural damage to a wood framed building, weakening floors and walls as it feeds on moist wooden structural members. If you suspect that mold has damaged building integrity, consult a structural engineer or other professional with the appropriate expertise.
Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent excessive moisture in buildings. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices since the 1970s, which resulted in tightly sealed buildings with diminished ventilation, contributing to moisture vapor buildup. Other moisture problems may result from roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under a building, or unvented combustion appliance. Delayed or insufficient maintenance may contribute to moisture problems in buildings. Improper maintenance and design of building heating/ventilating/air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, such as insufficient cooling capacity for an air conditioning system, can result in elevated humidity levels in a building.