Mold exposure and mold poisoning cause a wide variety of health problems, some of which can be deadly serious. While mold problems are not unusual in the home, you can rid your home environment of mold and prevent it before it happens.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, molds, in general, are very common in homes and buildings, and they can grow anywhere indoors where there is moisture. Mold problems are prevalent in the shower, a classic location to find black mold flourishing. Black mold symptoms are highly unpleasant, so you don’t want to deal with them if you don’t have to.
Undetected By Our Immune System
Mold biotoxins and inflammatory particles in the air you breathe must be taken very seriously. Mold is literally an invisible toxin because we can often see visible mold. Even when mold is not visible, it is continually reproducing, producing tiny toxic spores invisible to the naked eye.
Mold also produces secondary mycotoxins that get inside the body and wreak havoc on our health; meanwhile they go undetected by our immune system because they are tiny, fat-soluble molecules capable of entering our beautiful cells without passing through the bloodstream.
Types of Mold Typically Found in Homes and Their Health Effects || Black Mold Poisoning
The most harmful molds found in homes fall into these categories: Chaetomium, Penicillium, Fusarium, Aspergillus, and Stachybotrys.
Common in homes with water damage and thrives hidden in walls and under carpets. Symptoms of chaetomium exposure can range from water eyes to trouble breathing, to autoimmune diseases.
This type of mold can be hazardous as it requires low moisture and can spread quickly, including from soil and building materials. If it becomes widespread in a home, Penicillium can cause bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
This is most commonly found in plant debris and soil, and rare instances can lead to severe eye infections.
This type of mold is all around us in the air we breathe but can cause allergic reactions and lung problems in people with compromised immune systems.
Also known as black mold, it is one of the most dangerous and can lead to flu-like symptoms, memory loss, and respiratory damage, especially in children.
How to Protect Your Home from Mold Poisoning
Here are several ways to curb moisture indoors and the mold that thrives on it.
1. Identify Correct Potential Problem Areas
While you can’t mold-proof your home, you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home and locate problem areas like basement flood or frequent condensation on upstairs windows. Check on areas with water stains such as the ceiling from persistent leak. Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters.
2. Dry Wet Areas Immediately
Since mold can’t grow without moisture, tackle wet areas right away. Seepage into the basement after heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, even a spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. Avoid leaving wet items lying around the house, and make sure to dry the floor and walls after a shower.
3. Proper Ventilation
Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn’t invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer.
4. Use Mold-Resistant Products
If you’re building a new home or renovating an old one, use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless: the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass, making the surface highly water-resistant. Moisture-resistant drywall is especially valuable in areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens.
5. Monitor Humidity Indoors
The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. You can measure humidity with a moisture meter purchased from your local hardware store. You’ll also be able to detect high humidity by only paying attention to potential problem areas in your home. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture.
6. Direct Water Away From Your Home
If the ground around your home isn’t sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement.
7. Clean or Repair Roof Gutters
A mold problem might be a simple matter of a leaking roof because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.
8. Improve Air Flow in Your Home
According to the EPA, as temperatures drop, the air can hold less moisture. Without adequate airflow in your home, excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.
9. Keep Mold Off Household Plants
They’re beautiful and help keep your indoor air clean, but mold loves them. The moist soil in indoor plants is a perfect breeding ground for mold, which may then spread to other areas of your house. Try adding a bit of Taheebo tea to the water you give to your houseplants. This tree’s oil, which withstands fungi even in rain forests, it helps hinder mold growth in plant soil and can be found at natural food stores.
Educate yourself on your region’s climate — be it the cold and wet Northeast, the hot and wet South, the hot and dry Southwest, the cold and dry West — and how it responds to moisture. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to mold prevention. Knowing what works for your climate and your home is an essential first step.