Quote of the Day

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mold Myths

Paul hung his head in despair.  They almost had the sale of their home finalized, but now the home inspector's report said that he had found mold around the water heater in the basement.  He was sure the sale would fall through now and they would never be able to sell or rent the house, ever!

This would be disastrous.  They had to move to another state for his new job and they couldn't survive with this albatross around their necks.  What could they do?  Was there any hope?

There are many myths regarding mold that need to be dispelled.  Once mold has started in a home, it is very possible, in all but the most extreme cases, for the mold to be properly remediated, repairs made and for the home to be as good or better than it was before.  The presence of mold will have to be declared in future sales of the property, but proper documentation of the cleaning process will satisfy most buyers.

Below is a list of other myths regarding mold where I have explained the truth.

Myth - Once I have mold in my house, it will continue to infect the entire building.
Mold requires available mold spores, moisture and a food source.  If you have mold start to grow in your home, the source of water is fixed and professional repairs are made to remove the damaged materials, mold will not continue to grow.  Mold is not like a hive of bees that can migrate to other locations at will.  It is a very small organism that can only move on air currents and requires a specific environment to grow.

Myth - Mold will kill my family.
Mold does not kill people or other living entities.  Because it is an irritant, repeated exposure can weaken our immune systems making us more susceptible to other bacteria or virus that may be floating around.  Once we are removed from the contaminated environment, any negative symptoms disappear in a few hours or at most, a few days.

Myth - People catch mold.
People do not catch mold.  Inhalation causes irritation that motivates the body to expel the invaders, creating symptoms such as; watering eyes, stuffy sinuses, runny noses, sore throats, dry hacking coughs or a general, all over feeling, that we might be getting sick.

This is the same reaction produced by those with Hay Fever or Allergies.  The symptoms are merely the body's attempt to remove the invaders.

There is one extreme case where mold spores will grow in your body.  This is with Aspergillius mold spores.  They can grow in our lungs if we are exposed to a large enough quantity and our immune system is sufficiently weaken.  It creates a condition known as Aspergillosis in which the patient is very sick and usually requires large doses of intravenous anti-biotics for weeks to recover.

While this situation is possible to develop, most people are physically unable to remain in a contaminated environment long enough to inhale sufficient quantities of Aspergillus for this condition to start.

Myth - Mold will make you sick. 
People with repeated exposure to mold can become sick, but it is not the mold that makes them sick.  It is the weakening or exhausting of their immune system that leaves them susceptible to other illnesses that are available.

Myth - Mold is Toxic
As explained above, mold is an irritant.  Some species of mold excrete waste known as mico-toxins.  These are also irritating to our bodies, but they are not toxic in the conventional sense of anthrax or carbon-monoxide.  Like mold spores, they do nothing more than stimulate the symptoms in our bodies so they can be expelled.  These symptoms can include; watering eyes, stuffy sinuses, runny noses, sore throats, dry hacking coughs or a general, all over feeling, that we might be getting sick.

Again, once we are removed from the source of irritation, the symptoms usually disappear in a few hours.

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