What is mold?
Molds break down plant and animal matter in the environment. They can grow almost anywhere there is moisture and organic material such as in soil, on foods and plants, and in people's homes. To reproduce, molds release spores, which can spread through air, water, or on animals.
How do I know if I have a mold problem?
You can usually see or smell a mold problem. Mold can appear as slightly fuzzy, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow. Most molds produce musty odors that are the first indication of a problem. Mold can grow anywhere there is adequate moisture. The best way to find mold is to look for signs of mold growth, water staining, warping, or to follow your nose to the source of the odor. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. There are some areas of the home that are always susceptible to mold growth and should be part of routine cleaning to control mold growth.
Can mold make my family sick?
Exposure to mold can cause health effects in some people. Mold spores are always found in the air we breathe, but extensive mold contamination may cause health problems. Breathing mold can cause allergic and respiratory symptoms.
It is hard to say how much mold will cause health problems as some people are more sensitive to mold than others:
- People with current respiratory conditions (e.g., allergies, asthma, or emphysema)
- People with a compromised immune system