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Mold is a Call to Action

Mold is a Call to Action

One day in college I noticed mold growing on my bedroom wall.  My allergies at the time were horrible, and it was tough to sleep through the night without a heavy dose of antihistamines.  My roommates and I were not exactly slobs, but it did take me awhile to motivate myself to clean up the mold. When I finally mustered the necessary motivation, I bought a sponge, a pair of gloves and some cleaning solution from the local store.  I pulled back my bed to discover a solid wall of green fuzzy mold growing from the floor to the top of my bed.  I stepped back and assessed the situation.  I pushed the bed back against the wall, went back to the store and bought more antihistamines.

Knowing what I do about mold today, I would have acted differently.  Mold can cause allergic reactions in many people, and some molds can cause very serious health problems.  When you see mold, you should clean it up as soon as possible.  Cleaning up mold however is only half the battle.  Moisture control is the other half.  Where there is mold, there is moisture.  Mold won’t grow without it.  You need to clean up the mold and find the moisture source and fix that as well. 

Cleaning up mold can be difficult.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued basic guidelines for mold cleanup (see the U.S. EPA “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings” at www.epa.gov/mold).  If there is more than 10 square feet of mold, they don’t even recommend cleaning it up without using some professional judgment.  They also don’t recommend clean up mold if you have health problems or if the mold problem was caused by contaminated water or a sewage leak.  Instead mold abatement contractors should be used.

In those situations where they do recommend cleaning it up yourself, make sure you have long gloves, safety goggles and a protective respirator (called an N95 respirator, which should be available at local hardware stores).  For solid, non-porous surfaces you will need to clean off all visible mold, and you should check the surface after a week or so to see if the mold is growing back.  You might need to dispose of porous surfaces like carpet that are contaminated with mold.  It is just too hard to get mold out of these materials in many cases. 

If you have a mold problem, don’t wait to act and don’t rely on antihistamines as the solution.

Care2′s own green expert Annie B. Bond has some great non-toxic mold solutions. Read about them here.

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Andrew Peterson

Andrew Peterson is a Certified Industrial Hygienist with over 10 years of experience working in the environmental and occupational health field. In addition to writing, he is currently the Environment, Health and Safety Manager for a medium-sized company that has been voted one of Fortune Magazine’s Best Places to Work For and one of CRO Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens. He lives in California with his wife and adopted pound puppy.

12 comments

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8:59AM PST on Feb 20, 2013

thanks for this. in a lot of our old rented houses we had mould problems, specifically in the bathroom and/or bedroom/s. now we've got our own house and just had the bathroom ripped out and a new one put in-including the partition wall ripped down separating the toilet from the rest of the room, making it bigger. we hope we won't have any problems here. we've had a towel radiator put in as there was NO radiator and we've got a good fan in there too. we've been here 5 month so far and nowt, so here's to a LONG time with no mould!

1:22PM PST on Jan 4, 2013

Thanks mate!!!Intersting.

9:42AM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

important to know

3:34PM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

6:46AM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

Thanks for the info.

6:03AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

Boiling water kills mold and it's spores on contact. Add a little dish soap to make the water slippery and coat the spores so that they don't become airborne.

12:31PM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

thanks

8:34PM PDT on Jun 17, 2011

Thanks for the article.

12:58PM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

the moisture source is important to find ! thanks for the article...

4:59AM PST on Dec 10, 2010

The back rooms (which is our bedroom and a spare small room that we use as a walk-in closet) of our apartment are huge problems for us; for some reason they get very very humid and in the "closet" room you could actually *feel* how wet it was in the air, and on clothes! We've had to keep everything away from the walls, and got a space heater that we keep on all day to dry it up. But now it seems like we need to do the same in our bedroom! It's a royal pain. =(

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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