What are moulds?
Moulds are members of the fungus family, as are mushrooms and yeasts. Moulds are undesirable when they grow where we don’t want them, such as in homes. Moulds will grow if provided with moisture and nutrients but will not grow in dry conditions.
Why are moulds a concern?
Damage to materials is one concern. Materials get stained or discolored, and over time they are ruined. Mouldy paper and cardboard disintegrate over time. Fabrics are damaged.
When moulds are growing inside the home, there may be air quality and health concerns. Moulds release chemicals and spores. Some kinds of moulds create spores that contain poisonous chemicals called mycotoxins. These chemicals can be inhaled or ingested (if they are in foods). Even when mould spores are dead, the mycotoxins remain and will continue to affect people. For this reason, it is essential to remove mould or mouldy material in a house.
Health experts indicate that, depending on the type of mould present in a home, the amount and degree of exposure, and the health condition of the occupant, the health effects of mould can range from being insignificant to causing allergic reactions and illness. If you or family members experience symptoms that are severe or long lasting, a doctor should be consulted.
Pregnant women, infants, the elderly and those with health problems, such as respiratory disease or a weakened immune system, are more at risk when exposed to mould. Consult a doctor if you believe there is someone who may be at risk.
How can you tell if it is mould?
Mould may be any colour: black, white, red, orange, yellow, blue or violet. Put a drop of household bleach onto a suspected spot. If the stain loses its colour or disappears, it may be mould. If there is no change, it probably is not mould.
Sometimes moulds are hidden and cannot be seen. A musty or earthy smell often indicates the presence of moulds. But a smell may not be present for all moulds.
Last modified on Nov 28, 2014