Mold is a type of fungus that is present in our natural environment. Mold spores, which are tiny microscopic ‘seeds’, can be found virtually everywhere, including in homes, and are a part of the general dust found in homes. These spores can grow on building materials and furnishings if conditions are correct. Excess moisture is the critical factor in any indoor mold problem. Mold growth should not be tolerated in our homes. Eventually, the moisture and mold will damage what it is growing on, which may include both the building materials and personal belongings. The key to preventing mold growth is to prevent moisture problems.
What does mold need to grow?
Mold only needs a few simple things to grow and multiply:
- Nutrients (food)
Of these, controlling excess moisture is the key to preventing and stopping indoor mold growth.
What are the health concerns?
Health effects from exposure to mold can vary greatly depending on the person and the amount of mold in their home. The type of health symptoms that may occur include coughing, wheezing, nasal and throat conditions. People with asthma or allergies who are sensitive to mold may notice their asthma or allergy symptoms worsen. Individuals with severely weakened immune system who are exposed to moldy environments are at risk of developing serious fungal respiratory infections. MDH recommends that people consult a medical professional if they are concerned about the effects of a moldy environment on their health.
How do I tell if I have a mold problem?
Investigate don't test. The most practical way to find a mold problem is by using your eyes to look for mold growth and by using your nose to locate the source of a suspicious odor. If you see mold or if there is an earthy or musty smell, you should assume a mold problem exists. Other clues are signs of excess moisture or the worsening of allergy-like symptoms.
Should I test for mold?
The Minnesota Department of Health does not recommend testing for mold. Instead, you should simply assume there is a problem whenever you see mold or smell mold odors. Testing should never take the place of visual inspection and it should never use up resources that are needed to correct moisture problems and remove visible growth.
Does Norman-Mahnomen Public Health or the Minnesota Department of Health test homes for mold?
No – MDH and NMPH do not conduct any testing for mold and in most cases does not recommend testing. If you decide you want to continue with testing, here are some guidelines for selecting a IAQ consultant:
Mold Clean-up and Removal
To clean up and remove indoor mold growth, follow steps 1-6 as they apply to your home.