Mold will grow when humidity grows higher than 60 percent or anywhere where moisture and warmth exists. Molds may seem like plants, but they are not since they lack chlorophyll. However, molds do resemble ferns and mosses which reproduce by small particles called spores. They reproduce similarly in that they also generate microbial seed-like reproductive spores which are carried by air currents. Since the spores are airborne, they can exist both indoors and outdoors. However, spores are not just carried by air currents, people and pets also transport mold spores.
Mold appears any place where organic substances are present, such materials as: fabric, paper, wood, drywall, leather, plants, and foods, as well. Although molds are a natural part of the environment (necessary in the decay of leaves for the enriching of soil, etc.), extreme mold infestations have been related to respiratory problems and allergy symptoms such as runny nose, coughing, red and itchy eyes, and sneezing. Molds can cause sinus infections, skin rashes, and lung infections. Other reactions may involve headaches, mood changes, and memory loss. Furthermore, certain molds can be toxic such as the black mold Stachybotrys. Asthmatics and those with allergies are especially vulnerable to mold. People with allergies will find their symptoms occurring more frequently, possibly with more severity. People with asthma will experience more asthma attacks and their breathing may become more labored. Asthma is no minor disease, either; it is serious and can even be fatal, if the asthmatic cannot breathe. Thus, immediate action must be taken in such a case.
The best way to deal with mold is preventing it from developing in the first place. “No Moisture, No Mold” becomes the motto best suited to any home, whether owned or rented. Preventing moisture retention on or inside walls, beneath sinks or anywhere else is more than half the battle against the mold. Some of these measures include: checking for leaks, repairing and cleaning any possible water damage; using ventilation at the moisture source; using an exhaust fan or open a window when showering or washing dishes; using a continual low speed ventilation system (if possible); using a dehumidifier in summer and keeping the relative humidity between 40 to 50 percent; venting clothes dryers or any other appliance that produces moisture to the outside; and storing firewood outdoors (since it is a source of fungi, bugs, and moisture).
If any area in the structure or materials within it is wet, they should be dried as soon as possible within 24 to 48 hours of initial dampness. In this way, any mold growth will be greatly reduced. Renters who notice moisture problems and any plumbing leaks should immediately report it to the landlord or building manager. However, if the authorized agent does not solve the problem, the renter should contact an attorney who then may advise him or her to obtain a mold inspection report with a prepared remediation protocol by a certified, experienced professional mold inspector. In taking these steps, the renter may have a legal reason to break the lease.
This member of the fungi kingdom requires moisture to grow and to release its microbial spores. If spore levels are excessive, they will affect the health of people with asthma and/or allergies. Therefore, they must be very careful when searching for a place to buy or rent. Before the purchase or rental of any future home, they should have mold tests and inspections conducted by trained and certified mold inspectors. Knowing that mold inhabits these possible future homes will make them decide to either stay where they presently live or find another home, this time without mold.