Mold is practically invisible, but it can be very dangerous. Construction workers, business managers and property owners have an obligation to prevent the growth of mold as much as possible. They need to recognize mold exposure symptoms and treat them before things get worse.
What Is Mold?
Mold is a form of fungi, which is neither a plant nor an animal. The CDC estimates that there may be more than 300,000 species of molds in the world. Most molds thrive in dark, damp, warm conditions, especially in bathrooms, basements and active building sites that where interiors are exposed to the weather. Mold is also a common result of water damage from burst pipes, floods and firefighting efforts. Some types of molds can even survive in cold, dry conditions.
Mold Exposure Symptoms
Reactions to mold vary widely based on sensitivities and the density of the mold in the air from mild allergy-type symptoms to fatal asphyxiation. Repeated or prolonged exposure to mold can develop into chronic lung disease.
Common mold exposure symptoms include:
- Asthma-like reactions
Pay very careful attention to these warning signs. The most common types of mold also have a distinctive musty smell. The National Safety Council advises any employees who suspect they are being exposed to mold in the workplace to immediately report this to their manager. As soon as possible, they should visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment, and ask if they need to be medically restricted from work until it is resolved.
One of the best ways to prevent the formation of mold is to keep humidity levels below 50 percent with the use of air conditioners or dehumidifiers. To prevent mold growth in susceptible areas of a property, such as bathrooms, closets and laundry rooms, make sure there is adequate ventilation or exhaust fans. Mold inhibitors can also be added into paints.
Once you have confirmed the existence of mold with appropriate testing equipment, you have a few options for remediation. There are mold removal contractors who specialize in wet vac, damp wipe, HEPA vac, mold biocides like bleach and safe disposal of damaged property. For example, while wet carpets can be saved if they are treated immediately, small rugs that have been exposed to water for prolonged periods may need to be replaced.
Don’t underestimate the damage this invisible agent can do to people and property. Take care of mold before it spreads.