Public awareness of indoor mold has risen dramatically in recent years. The factors that have contributed to the increases of indoor mold problems are: energy conservation measures, changes in building materials, the use of rapid construction techniques, failure of occupants to manage moisture intrusion, and increased indoor humidity levels. It is estimated that 50% of all homes contain mold problems.
Molds are part of the natural environment. Molds are fungi that can be found anywhere inside or outside - throughout the year. About 1,000 different species of mold can be found in the United States, with more than 100,000 known species worldwide. Outdoors, molds play an important role in nature by breaking down organic matter such as toppled trees, fallen leaves, and dead animals. We would not have food and medicines, like cheese and penicillin, without mold. Indoors, however, mold growth should be avoided. Problems may arise when mold starts eating away at materials, affecting the look, smell, and possibly, with the respect to wood-framed buildings, affecting the structural integrity of the buildings. Molds can grow on virtually any substance, as long as moisture or water, oxygen, and an organic source are present. Molds reproduce by creating tiny spores (viable seeds) that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores continually float through the indoor and outdoor air.
Mold can be found wherever there is moisture, oxygen, and something to feed on. In the fall, they grow on rotting logs and fallen leaves, especially in moist, shady areas. In gardens, they can be found in compost piles and on certain grasses and weeds. Molds grow in our homes in moist warm areas like damp basements, closets, and bathrooms, even after the moisture has dried up. Also, molds can grow in places where fresh food is stored, refrigerator drip trays, house plants, humidifiers, garbage pails, mattresses, upholstered furniture, or foam rubber pillows. The worst place that molds can grow, however, is inside wall cavities and flooring of our homes, wherever there may be cellulose materials they can feed on, such as wood, ceiling tiles, or plasterboard, even if they are not visible, and they have sustained water damage at one time or another. This is very common if there has been a plumbing leak or a defective or worn roof.
Mold can cause adverse effects by producing allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions). Potential health concerns are important reasons to prevent mold growth and to remediate existing problem areas. The onset of allergic reactions to mold can be either immediate or delayed.
When mold cells are inhaled and land in the respiratory tract, the body's immune system's response to those invading cells can cause allergic illness. The immune system tries to destroy the mold as it would an agent, like a flu virus, that might cause infection. In a portion of the population, the immune system overreacts and causes the allergic response that results in symptoms such as runny nose, scratchy throat and sneezing. Most of us know this allergic illness as "hay fever" or "allergic rhinitis."
Asthma is a lung disease in which the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs can partially close, causing breathing difficulties ranging from mild (such as a dry cough) to life-threatening (inability to breathe). The US is in the midst of what is being called a world-wide asthma epidemic. A recent survey of North Carolina middle school children revealed that 10 percent had been diagnosed with asthma and another 17 percent had asthma symptoms that had never been diagnosed. More than half of asthmatics have respiratory allergies, often to mold. Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive asthmatics.
Some mold species can cause respiratory infection when the live mold invades the tissues of the lungs or respiratory tract. This can be dangerous for individuals with severely weakened immune systems.
Very large doses of certain molds, whether inhaled or ingested, can result in poisoning caused by toxins, called mycotoxins, in the mold cells.
MC2 Home Inspections LLC in Indianapolis offers residential mold testing for the entire Indianapolis metro area and surrounding areas. We are certified members of the National Society of Home Inspectors (NSHI), The National Association of Mold Remediators and Inspectors (NAMRI) and The International Indoor Air Quality Commission (IIAQC) as certified Indoor Air Quality Professionals. Our inspectors are fully trained, certified, licensed (where applicable) and insured for your protection. We use the very latest in mold testing equipment and techniques, and adhere to nationally recognized formal protocols for mold testing.
Depending on your situation, we will take direct samples of any visual mold via tape lift or if there is no visible mold present, there is still a possibility of it existing somewhere hidden. 50% of all mold found in homes is hidden behind drywall, underneath carpeting or pad, in the duct work etc. In this case we will take air samples using the Micro 5 cassette to determine if higher than acceptable levels of mold spores exist in the air that you are breathing. We will drop off the samples for analysis the same day. The results are typically available within 48 hours after the lab receives our samples. Based off of the lab analysis we may be able to narrow down the source possibility and offer suggestions on how to remediate the problem.
If you have any concern at all about the possibility of mold being in your home or the home you are about to purchase, put your mind at ease and call us today