“What is mold, exactly?”
I’m glad you asked, because knowledge is power.
Let’s start with the basics. According to Wikipedia (and most biology texts), Mold is under the Scientific classification Fungi.
“…Like all fungi, molds derive energy not through photosynthesis but from the organic matter on which they live, utilising heterotrophy. Typically, molds secrete hydrolytic enzymes, mainly from the hyphal tips. These enzymes degrade complex biopolymers such asstarch, cellulose and lignin into simpler substances which can be absorbed by the hyphae. In this way molds play a major role in causing decomposition of organic material, enabling the recycling of nutrients throughout ecosystems…” (Wikipedia). Along with a wide variety of characteristics, advantages and disadvantages; the trait most associated with mold is the biodegradation of natural material. i.e Your home.
An Ideal Habitat for Mold
In nature, mold is mostly beneficial, decomposing organic matter such as fallen trees. A natural garbage disposal. However, when it comes to a residence, having mold is anything but beneficial. All mold needs in order to prosper is water or moisture of some sort. Here is when vigilance on your part is required. Have you had flooding due to a recent bout of extreme weather? Do you live in a naturally humid region? Situations like these create a perfect environment for mold. It’s best to be aware of problem areas in your home so you can prevent problems before they occur.
Exposure to Mold
Yes,there are concerns regarding the effect that mold has on individuals’ health when exposed. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mold has the potential to cause allergic reactions due to the fact that they produce allergens, irritants and depending on abundance and the length of exposure, potentially toxic substances. Symptoms range from typical allergic reactions, such as sneezing, red eyes, runny nose, etc. to full blown asthma attacks.You know, the sort of unpleasant situation that one would want to avoid.
Seriously, get rid of it.
Don’t drive yourself crazy, Mold spores are constantly floating about. As I mentioned earlier, the main concern is the amount of moisture present. That being said, the key to mold control is to control the amount of moisture in a given area. If you have a leak, figure out where the source of your problem is and fix it. If you have already found mold, remove it to the best of your ability and take preventative measure from that point forward. If you find yourself encountering extreme amounts, get a professional.
Actually, that should be your motto in regards to most things outside of your (and our) knowledge base. Informing yourself is your best line of defense, so you kwow when to call in a contractor or other professional.