Molds can be harmful to health

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Among the many unwanted things found in a home, one homeowners should watch for is the formation of mold.   

Mold is a fungus that develops indoors and out and prospers in damp and humid conditions.

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The Mississippi State Department of Health’s website states that mold can be seen as a discoloration ranging in hues from white to black. Their presence in large quantities can cause severe allergic reactions.

Mississippi State Licensed Contractor and Certified Mold Inspector Charles Lee said mold growth indoors can be harmful in elevated forms.

He said humans can at times be affected by the mycotoxins molds produce. Mold commonly grows in wood substrates, leather and paper and thrive in humid, moist, damp or dark conditions, Lee said.

Mold can grow inside homes that have roof and plumbing leaks. Beneath a house, mold can most commonly be seen due to lack of drainage leading to standing water, improper ventilation and a lack of vapor barriers, he said.

“A house that is elevated and has a crawl space under it is more likely to have mold issues,” Lee said.

Failure to get rid of the excess moisture can cause severe property damage. Mold feeds on wood, causing it to eventually rot and decay, Lee said.

Besides causing excessive irritation to the skin, people have complained about mold growth causing sinus and breathing issues along with discomfort to the heart and lungs, Lee said.

The best way to detect the presence of mold is to gather a sample from the suspected area of growth, Lee said. He said molds could either be scraped off or collected from the air with specialized equipment such as an air sampler pump.

“Once they are taken to the lab, they’ll tell you what type of mold it is,” Lee said.

The best way to get rid of mold is to remove substances that promote its growth and fix any moisture leaks or issues.