Mold Exposure (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Mold facts
- What is mold?
- Where can mold be found in homes?
- What kinds of health problems may be linked to mold? What are symptoms of mold allergy?
- How can mold in the household be prevented?
- Is it necessary to test for mold?
- How should mold be cleaned up and eliminated?
- Find a local Asthma & Allergy Specialist in your town
How can mold in the household be prevented?
The best way to prevent mold in the home is the control of moisture. Although it is impossible to eliminate all mold spores in an indoor environment, the mold spores will not grow in the absence of moisture, so controlling moisture is the key to preventing mold growth.
- Leaks in plumbing or other structures that lead to moisture buildup should be identified and repaired.
- Areas of leakage and water damage in the home should be cleaned and dried within 24-48 hours.
- Use of an air conditioner or air dehumidifier during humid seasons can help reduce the potential for moisture buildup.
- Avoid the use of carpets in humid basements and bathrooms.
- Using fans and maintaining good ventilation in the home can also help prevent or control dampness.
- Mold inhibitors can be added to household paints.
- Keep indoor humidity low (ideally between 30%-50%).
- Use bathroom fans or open bathroom windows when showering.
- Appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers and stoves, should be vented to the outdoors when possible.
- Adding insulation can reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (such as windows, piping, roof, or floors).
Is it necessary to test for mold?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Association (EPA), if visible mold is present, testing is usually unnecessary. There are no EPA or government standards that have been established for mold or mold spore levels, so it is impossible to prove that a building or room is in compliance with any regulations concerning mold exposure. Likewise, the CDC does not recommend routine sampling and testing of mold. Tolerable or acceptable limits of mold exposure for humans have not been defined, and since individuals vary in their susceptibility to mold, testing cannot reliably predict the degree of health risks from any occurrence of mold.
When mold has previously been identified and cleanup procedures have been undertaken, sampling and testing may be carried out if necessary by qualified professionals to determine that adequate cleaning has occurred.
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