Mold in homes has been in the news a bunch lately. Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis).

Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.

•  Don't Panic mold is natural and everywhere (blue cheese, beer, in the air).

•  Reduce indoor humidty to 30%-50%. Purchase an inexpensive hygrometer.

•  Fix home leaks within 24-48 hours and remove or dry out wet building materials.

•  Prevent condensation by wrapping basement cold water pipes with insulation to prevent dripping on hot days.

•  Carefully clean and disinfect surfaces where mold grows. Rarely is mold toxic enough to require extreme measures of hiring an expensive sub-contractor. If in doubt, have suspected mold tested by an independent testing firm prior to hiring a remediation firm.

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