Mold (mildew), mushrooms, and yeast are all types of fungi and are found in the natural environment both indoors and outdoors. The terms fungi and mold are often used interchangeably, but mold is actually a type of fungi. Concern about indoor exposure to mold has increased along with public awareness that exposure to mold can cause a variety of adverse health effects. There are many thousands of species of mold and most if not all of the mold found indoors comes from outdoor sources. Mold is likely to grow and become a problem when there is water damage, high humidity, or dampness. ECOthink Group has conducted hundreds of mold inspections and can utilize our vast experience to resolve your mold problem.
Molds produce and release millions of spores small enough to be air-, water-, or insect-borne. They can also produce toxic agents known as mycotoxins. Spores and mycotoxins can have negative effects on human health. For those people who are affected by mold exposures there can be a wide variation in how they react. People at greatest risk of health effects are individuals with allergies, asthma, sinusitis, or other respiratory conditions, as well as infants and children, elderly people, and pregnant women. In addition, individuals with a weakened immune system are at risk.
Individuals particularly sensitive to molds may exhibit symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation upon exposure. People having serious allergies to molds, may experience more severe reactions. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. People who are immune compromised may be more at risk.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM), in 2004, reported that there was sufficient evidence to associate indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in healthy individuals; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
More recent studies have shown an association between early mold exposure and development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically predisposed to asthma. Certain interventions that improve housing conditions were shown reduce the incidence of morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
Molds can grow on virtually any substance, as long as moisture, oxygen, and an organic source are present. Molds are usually not a problem unless mold spores land on a damp spot and begin growing. They digest whatever they land on in order to survive. Molds grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods and insulation, while other molds feast on everyday dust and dirt that gather in the moist regions of a building.
When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth often will occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains unresolved. While it is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores, controlling moisture can control indoor mold growth.
Molds gradually damage building materials and furnishings. If left unchecked, mold can eventually cause structural damage to a wood framed building, weakening floors and walls as it feeds on moist wooden structural members.
ECOthink group environmental professionals, mold experts and certified industrial hygienists (CIH) can provide the following services:
- Flood response services
- Moisture assessments
- Testing for sewage contaminants
- Mold investigations / mold inspections
- Air testing for mold
- Development of remediation specifications
- Remediation services
- Monitoring mold remediation
- Clearance testing