The most important consideration
to keep in mind toxic mold prevention is that fungi and mold need
a moist, wet, or damp environment in order to thrive. By
maintaining a clean, dry home or workplace, dangerous mold species
cannot begin to grow. Unfortunately, it is often extremely difficult
to distinguish between toxic molds and those that don't pose a risk.
Most types of mold appear quite similar---black or gray sooty patches.
The good news is that even if toxic molds are in or around a home,
most homeowners remove them through normal cleaning before they
are able to grow to a size where they would pose a threat.
Regardless of the type of mold that
is found in a particular home, the relative safety of those inside
depends on the size of the mold manifestation. The danger level
occurs when mold reaches a size of roughly 2 square feet. Also of
concern is if mold has infested household items like insulation,
drywall, or carpet. If so, these materials should be immediately
extracted and the source of the dampness or wetness should be fixed.
When replacing these items, it is best to use a non-cellulose and
low nitrogen replacement material.
If the mold patch is small, it can
be removed with a chlorine-bleach solution (1 cup of bleach in 1
gal. of water). The mold should come off with simple scrubbing (individuals
should protect themselves with eye protection, rubber gloves and
carbon filter respirators). Mold that has dried should not be scraped
because this greatly increases the chances the releasing toxin-carrying
spores into the air.
Sources in and around homes that
can create a dangerous environment include leaky or broken pipes,
windows or older doors that lack good seals, roofs that leak, and
any cracks or holes in the building. If flooding has occurred, it
is extremely important to make sure that the water is thoroughly
dried up to avoid festering water or dampness. In addition, reducing
the humidity through the use of a dehumidifier can prevent the growth
of dangerous toxic molds.
All buildings should undergo scheduled
maintenance that includes inspection for water leaks, problem seals
around windows and doors, as well as checks for visible mold in
moist or damp parts of the building. Any conditions that could be
a possible cause of mold or fungi growth should be corrected to
prevent possible problems in the future.
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