FAQ: Molds in the Environment

Q: What are the molds?

A: Molds are also known as fungi which can be found indoors and outdoors. Nobody knows the exact number of species of fungi but there is an estimated 300,000 species or even more. Molds grow well in warm, humid, and damp conditions and they spread and increase by producing more spores. Mold spores can thread in harsh environment.

Q: What are some of the common indoor molds?

A: Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium

Q: What are the effects of molds to people?

A: There are people who are sensitive to molds and for this kind of people, mold exposure can cause symptoms like eye and skin irritations, wheezing, or nasal stuffiness. Those who are too sensitive to molds may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions from workers who are more exposed to huge amount of molds in their work like farmers who are working in moldy hay include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with acute lung diseases such as obstructive lung disease may develop mold infections in their lungs.

Q: Where are the molds be found?

A: Molds may be found anywhere and they can be detected, whether they are indoors and outdoors, all throughout the year. Mold growth thrives in warm and humid conditions. They can be found in outdoors where damp and shady places or areas are where the leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. They can also be detected and seen indoors where humidity is high like showers or basements.

Q: How can people reduce mold exposure?

A: Too sensitive people must avoid places that have molds like compost piles, wooden places, and cut grasses. Mold growth can be slowed down or prevented keeping the humidity degrees from 40% to 60% at home, and keep the showers and cooking areas well ventilated. And when there is mold growth at home, you must clean up the mold and repair the water problems. Mold growth can be eliminated from the hard surfaces with some commercial products for this purpose, or water and soap, or weak bleach solution such as one cup of bleach in one gallon of water. The following are recommendations to reduce mold exposure:

  • Maintain humidity degree at home between 40% and 60%
  • Apply mold inhibitors to the paints before application
  • Use air conditioner or dehumidifier during the humid months
  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products
  • Make sure that the house has sufficient and proper ventilation, including exhaust fans
  • Get rid or replace formerly soaked carpets and upholstery
  • Avoid placing carpets in the bathroom and basements

Q: What are the places with greater potential for mold exposure?

A: Saunas, farms, antique shops, mills, greenhouses, construction places, summer cottages, flower shops

Q: How do I test the mold when I have detected that molds are growing in my house?

A: It is not for you to know the specific species of molds in your house and CDC does not encourage routine sampling for molds. Present evidence shows that allergies are health issues that are usually related to molds. The susceptibility of the persons can differ on the type or type of molds, the culturing and sampling are not usually reliable to determine the health risks. If you are too sensitive to mold and molds are present around, then, there is higher potential for health risks.

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