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Answer: Mold is a sponge-like kind of growth that thrives among organic matter such as different types of fungi. These forms of mold grow on various organic substances and as long as they get plenty of moisture, they quickly break down materials like wood, leather or waste matter.

Answer: The National Center for Disease Control (CDC) noted that exposed mold may not be a source of health concern all the time. But there are people who are sensitive to mold growth in their surroundings and would show symptoms of allergy such as frequent sneezing, nasal congestion, irritation, wheezing, etc when they come in contact with mold. There are people who experience more serious reactions to molds by having fever and short breath. Those with chronic illnesses, like lung disease, may have mold infection inside their lungs.

Answer: The CDC also reports that there are cases where toxic molds inside homes, such as the type that contains certain mycotoxins also known as “fungus poisons”, may cause certain conditions like pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These types of cases are rare because links between toxic mold and the above conditions are yet to be proven, but studies are still being undertaken. Stachybotrys chartarum is a mold that’s greenish-black in color but mostly called “toxic” mold.

Answer: No. There are lots of molds that are black in color. For instance, black mold that is mostly found in homes e.g. bathroom is not Stachybotrys. The mold form called Stachybotrys can only be picked out by biologists who study fungi (mycologists) using microscopic exam. Reference: “Facts about Mold,” New York City Department of Health, Environmental and Occupational Disease Epidemiology, February 2001.

Answer: No. There are several thousands types of mold, but just a few are classified as “toxic.”

Answer: The CDC further says that molds grow naturally within their indoor habitat. Mold spores can be found everywhere as they can be transported through the air. Mold spores could drop on places where excessive moisture is, or where flooding occurs which would spur the mold to grow fast. Some building materials like wooden items, tiles, insulation materials and wallpaper aid mold growth through damp or wet surfaces.

Answer: Mold grows almost everywhere and there is no possible way that its growth could be eliminated completely. However, mold can be controlled or drastically reduced by controlling moisture levels.

Answer: Mold spores can be found in almost every environment as they could enter homes through open vents, ducts, doors, windows, and even through air conditioning systems during air exchange. Mold spores travel in the air so they could be attached to carriers like human skin or clothes, animal fur, or on movable items. When these mold spores fall on places where there is plenty of moisture.

For example where there are leakages in roof tops, inside pipelines, wall surfaces, flower pots or flooded areas, they will automatically grow with a little or more moisture. A lot of building materials also provide the needed nutrients to spur mold growth. Some of these materials include wet cellulose, paper products, cardboard; tiles, wood products, wet carpet, etc. These are the right habitats for mold to grow..

Answer: Stachybotrys chartarum is also known as Stachybotrys atra; is a greenish-black colored type of mold. It commonly grows in places that have high cellulose and low nitrogen material, e.g. dust, paper, fiberboard, gypsum board and lint. Mold grows and thrives where there is excessive moisture in the air or dew resulting from water damage, humidity, water leakages, flooded zones, condensed surfaces and overflow areas. One may not have to determine the type of mold present in a place but constant moisture is needed for its growth. All molds should however be treated as same due to potential health risks.

Answer: Decisions like this should be made as a person. If you feel ill due to mold exposure in your home or office, consult your physician for advice on the best action to take.

Answer: People who have allergies are prone to be more sensitive to the presence of molds. Those with immune suppression or subtle lung ailments also tend to have fungal infections.

Answer: Frequent exposure to mold in indoor areas is not so much of a health concern. But there are people whose sensitivity to mold often makes them exhibit mold symptomslike skin and eye irritation, wheezes and nasal stuffiness due to mold exposure. Others may show more serious reaction to mold exposure. Such harsh reactions could be found among workers like laborers in sewage recycle plants that are exposed to constant mold areas. Serious allergies could be short breath and fever. People suffering from chronic lung diseases are always at higher risks of getting infected with fungus.

Answer: Mold may be removed off hard surfaces through cleanups using simple cleansing agents like detergent and water, or by adding little bleach solution to the soap mixture. Surfaces like tiles, wallpaper and rugs which are either absorbent or porous should be disposed off once they become moldy.
If the mold exposure is in large amounts and could make the cleanup process a bit complicated for you, contacting an expert in mold remediation is the best option. There is no alternative to a clean and dry area because there could still be some allergies to remnants of dead mold and fungi contamination which keep recurring with constant flow of moisture.

Answer: Mold growth in indoor areas, either in Stachybotrys chartarum or other forms, shows that there are concerns about moist air, dew or water within the surroundings. These are the causes which need to be looked into. Mold hidden in areas that are not readily accessible require extra attention. When mold grows in a damp or humid place, the best way to effectively deal with it is to remove the entire layers and replace it with gloss or veneer finish if need be.

It is not necessary to take various preventive measures for the Stachybotrys chartarum mold type. In flooded areas, immediate drying and cleaning of the affected areas with simple soap solutions will do the trick. For safety reasons, do not mix ammonia with bleach or similar domestic cleaning agents. (Reference: After a Hurricane or Flood: Cleanup of Flood Water.)

Answer: During routine building or structural maintenance, mold infested areas must be inspected for signs of flood damage, fungi or mold. Conditions that induce mold like leakages, condensed surfaces, swamps, or clogged corners must be cleaned up to prevent mold growth.

Specific Recommendations:
• Maintain low humid levels indoors e.g. between 40% and 60%.
• Run air conditioner or dehumidifiers constantly working during humid months of the year.
• Ensure that all indoor spaces have enough fresh air, especially in kitchens and bathrooms.
• Mix or add mold inhibitors before painting walls and surfaces.
• Carry out routine cleanups using mold-killing products.
• Perform regular cleanups for rugs while replacing flooded carpets.

Answer: It is usually not easy to identify mold species growing in indoor areas, and CDC doesn’t recommend using routine samples for mold testing. Recent evidence shows that allergies are the common forms of diseases that are often linked to molds. Since individual reactions to allergies vary due to each person’s body system, the type and extent of mold infestation, assessing your health status through sampling and culturing is not necessarily reliable.

If mold is seen or felt within your body, there are potential health risks associated to its presence; therefore, it doesn’t matter the type of mold present, it is imperative for you to get rid of it as soon as possible. Also, to get reliable results from sampling for the presence of mold in any area may be expensive while there is little or no guarantee for its standards or accuracy.