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  • Dan Waters

"Is Mold Really That Bad?"

Volume 1 | Article 2

When this question is asked, almost everyone has an opinion. Unfortunately, the opinions cover the range of possibilities, and far too often, individuals pick and choose the answer(s) that fit the needs at the time. The true answer to this question has several aspects, components, variables, and conditions that make it difficult to give a short answer but suffice to say: Molds growing inside of our homes and/or working environments is never good and can be extremely harmful to some individuals.

Even though being exposed to damp and musty environments may seem to have little to no effect in some individuals, we should never allow it to grow in our homes. Mold growth inside means that there is a potential moisture problem that is allowing this to occur. Many times, this starts with a small leak, which can happen anywhere throughout a home. Other times, the cause of condensation can be inadequate ventilation, too little insulation, differences in temperatures in different rooms, or even clutter. These are just a few examples that can allow molds to grow, and as you see, there are several variables.

Another question…

“If mold is growing on a surface, what is it doing to that surface?”

Most times, that surface is its main food source, so you can see that this is not a good thing.

Granted, it will take years, and probably decades for molds to eat enough of the sheathing

in an attic to cause structural damage but remember that the moisture that is sustaining the

growth, is also causing damage, and this scenario can take place any where in your home.

The first, and best way to safeguard your home is to stop this process before it begins, and I like to use a phrase that I learned in business school coined by Tom Peters – MBWA: Management by Walking Around. The premise is, if you are walking throughout your house and looking around, you will find things before they are a problem.

Rotted sheathing in an attic caused by moisture condensation

and mold growth for several years.

Most of the above addresses the effects of mold on the structure of the dwelling. We will now focus on the more important subjects, the human inhabitants. There are five categories of people that are especially susceptible to adverse effects of breathing molds and their spores. They are:

1) The very young

2) The very old

3) Those specifically allergic to molds

4) Those who have suppressed immune systems (chronic diseases, cancer/chemotherapy, autoimmune diseases, etc.), and

5) Those who have lung disease (COPD, asthma, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, etc.)

For some of these individuals, molds may cause relatively minor symptoms and effects, such as: nasal stuffiness; throat irritation; coughing or wheezing; and skin or eye irritation. However, more severe reactions such as serious lung infections can occur and depending on the individual’s health and the extent of exposure, sometimes these individuals cannot be saved.

Hopefully this short introduction to the potential seriousness of exposure to molds will help you to take the necessary steps to safeguard your home. It starts with WBWA.

Written by

Dan Waters, CMI/CMR, Member of NAMRI

Owner of Bio-Safe Environment

Mold Article 2
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