Mold: An Indoor Air Quality Concern

Did you know that we are constantly coming into contact with mold spores? Mold is a part of our everyday lives and it is usually not a major concern, until it finds a place in our homes to attach and begin growing a colony. Both summer and winter create indoor environments that are conducive to the development and proliferation of mold colonies, and therefore, and increased number of mold spores in the air. While a few spores will likely have no effect on a person, air that is saturated with these spores can present a serious health risk.

What is mold?

Mold is a branch of the fungi family. It travels in the form of microscopic spores, which float through the air. Indoor and outdoor air is full of spores. While this might sound frightening, they are usually not in a high enough concentration that they pose any health risk.

As these spores travel, they land on the surfaces of our home. If they find a damp place, they may begin reproducing and creating a colony, that will release even more spores. An accumulation of these spores in the air may become toxic, as mold, especially black mold, contains mycotoxins. In general, it is best to assume that all mold is dangerous and have it properly disposed of.

Why are summer and winter the worst seasons for mold growth?

Mold prefers moderate temperatures, humidity, and low air flow. These conditions are most common in the summer and winter. Many places in the world have very humid summers. When the wood of a home becomes wet, simply through the humidity in the air, it becomes a breeding ground for mold. Areas like basements or crawl spaces, where there is no air conditioning are the most likely spots.

And because many people heat their homes in the winter, and may even humidify rooms in order to stave off dry winter air, the home again becomes a prime spot for mold. Anytime mold finds a patch of damp, it will attach and begin to grow.

What are the health risks of mold?

Some of the most common health risks include irritation of the eyes and sinuses, as well as serious respiratory illnesses. For young children, the elderly, and those that have asthma, a higher concentration of mold in the air can become very dangerous, very quickly. Anyone with a pre-existing respiratory problem might be at significant risk.

If you notice allergy or other illness symptoms while at home that clear up when you leave home, mold may be to blame. It is best to have a qualified inspector and remediation company inspect and remove any mold that is found.

About Brickley Environmental

Brickley Environmental creates safe-and-sound schools, homes, and buildings by designing and executing safe, cost-effective containment, abatement and removal solutions. We do it right the first time — making your profits predictable while supporting your ethical standards and reputation for excellence — and have served Southern California for over 30 years.