Mold

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Mold
What is mold?

Mold is a type of fungus, and like most fungi, it uses a type of filament called hyphae, which forms a network called mycelium. Mold reproduces via spores (different from bacterial spores that are a resistant form). Spores and mycelium are colored which makes the mold visible to the naked eye. 

Mold are ubiquitous microorganisms; they require water, nutrient (organic) sources, and an adequate temperature to develop and grow. 

Due to its notorious characteristic, it can grow indoors as well as outdoors.

When found with a water source inside, mold can feed on several materials including:

  • wood, plywood
  • paper, cardboard
  • wallpaper, adhesives
  • synthetic materials, plastics, silicon
  • carpets and other flooring materials and adhesives
  • paint and varnishes
  • leather

 

It can even grow in and on cement or concrete floors, on materials not considered organic. When moisture is found, organic matter and dust (found in the air) could be the source of food for these microorganisms. 

There are several kinds of mold, and they share the same characteristics, but the most common types found in or around homes are:

  • Aspergillus 
  • Rhizopus
  • Fusarium 
  • Penicillium 
  • Acremonium 
  • Cladosporium 

 

Mold can be brought inside on shoes, clothes, bags, and also through ventilation, windows, and open doors. It becomes more dangerous when it starts to become visible (high concentrations). 

Effects of mold:

People can be affected by the mold presence (spores, toxins…); the spores it sheds can be suspended for days in the indoor air (depending on their shape and size). In low concentrations, they are usually harmless. However, people allergic to mold or having asthmatic problems may be affected. 

Continued exposure to mold is considered dangerous, and allergic reactions such as nasal congestion, sneezing, rhinitis, conjunctival inflammation, urticarial, headaches, fever and diarrhea, health problems (e.g. asthma) can develop even for healthy people. 

Immunocompromised people and babies are the most vulnerable. In fact, serious lung infections were observed in these patients. 

Remedies:

Home remedies are not efficient in removing mold and can be dangerous to the tenants of the residence. Mold had to be killed before removal to halt the spread of its spores around the area and to protect the person undergoing the removal. 

Chlorine products must be used in relatively high concentrations to achieve the mold kill, but these concentrations become hazardous to the person removing the infestation. Moreover, chlorine and quaternary ammonium products are selective in their effectiveness, thus they do not target all types of mold, and the long exposure to these agents (in repeated treatments for example) put the agent in danger. Vinegar is among the common household product recommended to treat mold, but since most of the construction materials are made up of limestone (a basic material), vinegar is not the best choice since the acidic nature of vinegar will react with the limestone leading to the neutralization of vinegar, ending up providing more nutrients to the infestation. Baking soda is also not as much effective.

It is crucial to always locate the source of contamination in order to fix it since no fungicide can inhibit mold regrowth if the source of the contamination is not treated. 

Experts must be summoned when a mold problem is detected. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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