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Common indoor mold: What to look for and how to take a proactive approach

Posted By Eric Dimoff, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Monday, April 11, 2016

By Chamber member ServiceMaster Absolute

Mold can be found virtually anywhere indoors and outdoors – the only requirements are a damp environment and organic material to feed in order to grow. While mold has some redeeming qualities, including helping to produce antibiotics, foods and beverages and breaking down dead plants and trees, mold can also be dangerous. Certain strains can cause serious health problems including allergies, asthma, respiratory problems or a weakened immune system.

Types of Mold:

  • Penicillium – Green or bluish, this mold is most commonly found on moist, dead organic matter, such as food or damp wood. Its airborne spores can cause serious allergic reactions and consuming food contaminated with Penicillium may lead to severe gastric problems.
  • Cladosporium – Often black, dark brown or olive-colored, this mold can be found indoors in any dark, damp, non-porous area – such as the inside of a refrigerator, on walls, or along the water line of a toilet. While it’s non-toxic, it can cause severe allergic reactions in people with mold allergies.
  • Aspergillus – Black or tan-colored, it’s one of the most dangerous molds, often found on decaying organic matter and things like wood, paper, soil and food. It’s commonly found in basements after water damage or flooding. Aspergillus can be hazardous to people with severe allergies or asthma, or a weakened immune system.
  • Alternaria – Green, black or gray, it’s often found indoors in showers, on wallpaper, window frames, fruits and vegetables, carpets and clothing. It can cause severe allergic reactions and chronic respiratory problems

While less of a problem in the colder months, mold growth picks up in the spring when the temperatures begin to climb, and because it often grows in dark, damp places (like a basement), it can often go undetected for a long period of time.

Preventative Measures:

Here are a few easy ways to prevent mold from developing inside your home or business:

  • Keep your indoor humidity low and be aware of condensation that develops on walls or windows – this can be a sign of high humidity.
  • Using dehumidifiers, fans and air conditioners when necessary.
  • Attending to water damage, leaks or flooding immediately after the damage occurs. The more quickly the area is dried, the less chance of mold growth.
  • Cleaning and vacuuming your home on a consistent basis.
  • Use exhaust fans inside the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry areas.
  • Insulate the attic and crawl space and make sure they are well-ventilated.

If you think your home or business is experiencing mold growth, the most important thing to remember is to act immediately and call an expert in mold remediation right away. Do not try to remove mold yourself; you can put your own health at risk! Instead, let an expert assist you and ensure that all mold is removed properly.

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