According to the Environmental Protection Agency, molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, mold plays a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but, indoors, mold growth should be avoided.
Indoors, mold is an unwanted Gulf Coast phenomenon that can quickly occur if water leaks or humidity issues are not cleared up in a timely manner.
Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.
Below are 10 mold facts provided by Dove Services Inc., a mold inspection, testing and remediation company located in Gulf Shores. Dove is a member of Meyer Vacation Rentals? preferred provider list.
1. Mold is a natural living organism. Certain types in the wrong places and in excessive quantities can be extremely harmful.
2. Mold requires moisture and/or humidity, food and a favorable temperature to grow.
3. Stachbotrys is often called ?black mold.? It can produce highly poisonous mycotoxins. Other molds that are common along the Gulf Coast are Aspergilius and Cladosporium. No matter which type is present, a certified mold remediation company should clean it professionally.
4. Often, there is a distinct musty odor present when mold is present, but not always. Many times, there will be visible mold on ceilings, walls, air conditioning registers and coils, furnishings, etc. This happens 90 percent of the time. Mold, in most cases, begins to grow within 24 to 48 hours after a water leak or if flooding occurs. It can grow inside the wall as well as on the surface. It has been our experience that units can be especially vulnerable if they are closed during times of low vacancy, warmer weather and with the air conditioning set too high.
5. Children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are at the greatest risk for adverse health issues due to mold exposure.
6. The most common symptoms of mold exposure are itchy eyes, headaches, memory loss, fatigue, nausea, low-grade fever, nosebleeds and flu-like symptoms.
7. Mold should always been cleaned up by a certified mold remediation company whose employees are trained in taking protective measures.
8. A protocol is a written plan offered by mold remediation contractors detailing the actions for removal and decontamination of a structure and its contents.
9. Bleaches do not kill mold. Painting over untreated mold makes remediation very difficult and creates a situation for untreated mold to grow behind the paint. If untreated mold is painted over, the drywall may have to be removed or the ceiling scraped in order to properly rid the area of mold.
10. Steps to follow if mold is present: reduce or eliminate moisture source; take quick action as mold can grow within 24 to 48 hours; and clean and treat the air conditioning systems during remediation.
If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA?s Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.
If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult EPA?s guide, ?Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned,? before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold?it could spread mold throughout the building. Visit www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs to download a copy of the EPA guide.
Meyer Vacation Rentals works with several mold remediation specialists who can provide quotes and more information about the remediation process.
SOURCE: Environmental Protection Agency, ?A Brief Guide To Mold, Moisture & Your Home?