September is Mold Awareness Month

Did you know that September is Mold Awareness Month?

Studies have shown that there is an association between factors related to indoor dampness like, mold and mildew, and a wide variety of respiratory illnesses, including asthma, asthma exacerbation, respiratory infections, and upper respiratory tract symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and dyspnea.

Mold can be found inside or outside of your home. It can gain entrance to your home through open doorways, vents, windows or heaters and air conditioners. It grows in places with heavy moisture like leaky windows, pipes and floors that have been previously exposed to flooding. Mold from outdoors can be carried indoors as it attaches itself to your clothing, your shoes, objects that you are carrying; even on your pet.

What can we do to prevent exposure to mold? The U.S. National Centers for Disease Control recommends:

  • Keeping the humidity level in your home between 40% and 60%;
  • Immediately fixing any leaky roof, pipe, window or other leaking area in your home;
  • Thoroughly cleaning after flooding with soap and water, a bleach solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water, or a commercial cleaning product;
  • Completely drying an area that has been flooded after it has been cleaned properly:
  • Properly ventilating areas exposed to moisture such as the shower, laundry, and cooking areas.

If you choose to clean your home with bleach or other harsh chemicals, it is important to note:

  • Follow the manufactures instructions when using commercial products;
  • Do not mix bleach with other cleaning products as it could cause toxic fumes;
  • Open doors and windows while cleaning to provide adequate ventilation;
  • Wear eye goggles and protective gloves.

You might have mold in your home if you have the following:

  • Staining. If you see staining, chances are pretty good that water has been or is present, and when moisture is present, mold can grow. Because drywall and paint are generally easy to replace, cut through or cut out the drywall to locate the source of the staining.
  • Odor. Mold can be present without being visible. So if you walk into a room or a basement and smell a musty or other odor that’s not in the realm of the ordinary, you might want to have it checked out.
  • Blistering. Peeling or blistering paint can also mean water damage. Also watch out for bulging dry wall and screws and joints that have popped out. All are evidence of wood that has swelled and/or warped from repeated water exposure.

To help reduce moisture, ventilate rooms and other areas that are exposed to water.

To learn more about mold prevention and awareness, visit www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm.

Here’s some additional facts about indoor air quality you may not be aware of!