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Does that hairy wall covering require a mold inspection?

Mold is caused by fungi or bacteria that grow indoors when there is adequate humidity. It contributes to indoor air pollution and, although rare, can cause serious illness.

The microbes that develop into mold spores only require the nutrition provided by the average amount of dust and dirt in homes. These tiny fungi can reproduce rapidly and become airborne exposing the entire house. You can’t always see mold, so it pays to do a mold inspection.

Where does the water come from? Aside from leaking faucets or flooding, it can be as simple as the incoming air supply. If it’s raining or snowing outside, simply opening the door and moistening the boots may be enough to start growth.

A dig for growth is to use suitable and easy-to-clean materials that reduce moisture absorption. Window frames, especially metal ones, form condensation with typical use of air conditioning. Poor insulation is another easily fixable contributor.

There are three common types of mold discussed here, all of which require a mold inspection to identify. The first is Aspergillus, and it’s everywhere and people inhale it on a daily basis. There are more than 180 species, but most of them do not harm humans. However, there are forty of them that can cause infections in people with weak immune systems or chronic illnesses.

The second mushroom is the ever-common Cladosporium, and it loves grout lines, subfloors, and sheetrock. This fungus is the reason why hospital intensive care units do not allow cut flowers; they can develop mold once the plant matter begins to decompose. The spores can be a concern for critically ill patients. It is considered a form of black mold and the average person experiences hay fever, upper respiratory problems, or asthma if they have that disease.

The third and most worrisome is Stachybotrys Chartarum, which is toxigenic, not to be confused with a toxic substance. It means that they can but do not always produce toxins. The symptoms are the same as those of other household molds, but with rare exceptions. There appears to be an unsubstantiated link with pulmonary hemorrhage in babies exposed to this. People who are already sick would also be subject to respiratory diseases like pneumonia.

If there are any concerns, a proper mold inspection would include thermal imaging and topical samples for laboratory testing. Air samples should also be taken. Clients should expect a written report detailing the findings and recommendations for remediation if necessary. Don’t buy a home without first having a mold inspection, and if you rent a home, know that the landlord is responsible for any mold problems and related illnesses of the occupants.

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