WASHINGTON, DC, October 14, 2002 (ENS) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a new publication to help people get rid of harmful mold in their homes, schools or offices. "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home" provides information to homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth.
There are more than 100,000 species of mold. Mold is most likely to grow where there is water or dampness – such as in bathrooms and basements.
"Molds have the potential to cause health problems and allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. "If you already have a problem, act quickly,mold damages what it grows on, the longer it grows the more damage it can cause. "
Molds are part of the natural environment that help to break down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. Even though molds are usually not a problem indoors, they can have the potential to cause problems if spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.
Molds produce tiny spores to reproduce that can grow on wood, paper, carpet and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.
Stachybotrys is a type of mold that has been associated with severe health effects in people. This greenish-black mold can grow on materials with a high cellulose content such as drywall sheetrock, dropped ceiling tiles, and wood that become moist or water damaged, due to excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, or flooding.
Many molds are black in appearance but are not Stachybotrys. The black mold commonly found between bathroom tiles is not Stachybotrys, which can be positively identified only by trained professionals through a microscopic exam.
If mold is a problem in a home, the homeowner should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem. It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
People cleaning mold should be allergy free. Small areas of mold should be cleaned using a detergent solution and thoroughly dried. Gloves should be worn during cleaning, and any sponges or rags used to clean mold should be discarded.