Okay, we all know that mold is a natural part of the outdoor environment, and we know that mold damage may be encountered on a daily basis with no ill effects whatsoever. We also know that mold becomes a problem when it begins to grow within the confines of a home or business, because mold spores are suddenly encountered and inhaled in large concentrations. The end result may be health problems ranging from the slight to the severe. In fact, there may be up to 300 variations of mold that can present serious health risks if they are inhaled, ingested, or even touched.
Why mold is more prevalent today
Mold has become a greater risk in recent years, oddly enough due to improvements in home construction. New homes are more tightly sealed, allowing water and moisture to become trapped inside which creates the perfect breeding ground for mold. The result is that people may inadvertently move into a brand new home that already has a serious mold problem. In recent years, there have been some highly publicized court cases stemming from just this sort of problem.
If there is good news on the mold front, it’s that most folks with healthy immune systems can resist the effects of mold fairly easily, for a time anyway. Repeated long term exposure to mold spores will eventually result in some unwelcome side effects. They may be as slight as a mild allergic reaction, or it may manifest itself as a severe respiratory problem.
How do I know if I have mold?
Also, determining if you have a mold risk isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. While some people pay for expensive mold testing, in many cases, the presence of mold may be determined simply through a cursory visual inspection as well as sniffing the air for musty smells that may denote mold growth. Usually if there is a mold problem, there is no mistaking it.
As mentioned, the health problems associated with mold are wide and varied. Sometimes just touching mold can trigger an allergic reaction. It can also disturb the growth and send hundreds of thousands of mold spores into the air, allowing them to spread throughout the home. Residents in the home may experience skin rashes, sneezing, coughing, runny noses, and itchy or watery eyes. Many times, these problems are viewed strictly as allergic problems and mold isn’t even considered. Elderly people and babies….generally folks with compromised immune systems, are at greater risk for problems related to mold.
Stratobotrys atra, more commonly known as Black mold, has been responsible for several high profile cases involving long term or permanent health issues resulting from exposure in infested homes.
In 2003, bill H.R 1286 was introduced. Known as the United State Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act, this bill mandates comprehensive research into mold growth, as well as creating programs to educate people about the danger of mold and provide assistance to mold victims. The act will also provide guidelines for preventing indoor mold growth, establish mold removal standards, and provide grants for mold removal in public buildings. It will also authorize tax credits for the inspection and remediation of mold problems, and provide insurance coverage for catastrophic losses due to mold damage.