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Mold And Mildew
Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Mold, sometimes called mildew, is a tiny, many celled fungus that grow in colonies. The names, mold and mildew, are sometimes used interchangably, and the name is given to any one of many types of fungi that produce fuzzy, cobweb like growths. Although molds are considered a form of plant life, they have no roots, leaves, or stems.

Molds spores travel from one location to another through the air and attach themselves to damp surfaces. The spores germinate and spread rapidly, forming clusters that bare the color of the particular mold species in which they belong.

Certain types of molds are beneficial to humans, such as those used in antibodies like penicillin. Molds are also used in the production of certain types of cheeses and in the commercial production of enzymes and hormones.

Many types of molds, however, are very harmful to humans, as well as to animals and plants. In a home, molds can be especially destructive. It grows easily in dark, damp locations like bathrooms, basements, attics, and inside walls. You can find mold clusters behind beds, cabinets, dressers, inside refrigerators and in other areas that don't get a lot of direct light.

Some mold species live on dead and decaying plants and animals while others thrive on nonliving organic substances such as food, paper and fabrics. It can grow easily on breads, jellies, pastries, meats, dairy products and other household condiments.

Molds that are airborne in a home can cause serious health risks to the occupants, especially babies, the elderly, and those who are weakened by other illness. It can cause unsightly and painful rashes, ringworms, athlete's foot, allergies and other respiratory ailments if touched or ingested.

Removing large amounts of mold from a home should be left up to the professionals. If it is a small amount, it can be handled as a do-it-yourself job, but even that can be risky if the proper precautions are not met. If you attempt to do the job yourself, you should keep these safety tips in mind.

  • First, the area being cleaned should be sealed off to prevent the spores from spreading to other area of the home.
  • All heat and air conditioning ducts should be sealed and covered.
  • Windows should be left open for proper ventilation.
  • A mild household borate based detergent mixed with a bleach in warm water should be used.
  • Rubber gloves are a must. Never touch mold with your bare hands and always wear a face mask.
  • After washing it down, completely dry the surface using fans or a dehumidifier.
  • To prevent mold from coming back, apply a borate based solution, but this time, do not rinse.
  • Do not paint or caulk over molded surfaces because the mold will grow back.
  • If the mold comes back, you may need to hire a professional mold removal company.

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