As National Mold Cases Rise, Local Experts Warn of Increased Health Risks
As documented cases of residential mold contamination and related health problems continue to rise across the nation, the indoor air quality industry is on a crusade to educate homeowners about the serious consequences of mold in the home. (September 5 – October 5) has been deemed Mold Awareness Month by the industry because mold spores that commonly grow in summer humidity are often trapped as people close up homes and foundation vents in the fall. Just a few of these spores can make a family sick.
There are an estimated 10,000 mold-related court cases nationwide
There has been a 300 percent increase in litigation involving mold contamination over the past five years.
The average mold claim costs $35,000 and many exceed $100,000.
“We know to check the batteries in our smoke detectors, to change our air filters, to clean out our gutters and rake our leaves, but no one talks to homeowners about the dangers of household mold,” says Jeff Dudan, CEO and founder of AdvantaClean, a national mold remediation company with a locally owned franchise serving the area. “We’re on a mission to teach homeowners how to limit mold growth and keep their families healthy.”
Fast Facts about Mold:
According to the U.S. EPA, the air inside the average American home can be more than 100 times more polluted than the air outside. New homes usually have poorer air quality than older homes because they’re air tight, so spores can’t escape, providing a perfect breeding ground.
Common household molds cause asthma, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rashes. Infants and the elderly are most the at risk, because they often have weaker immune systems.
Mold is prevalent in most homes and it’s often difficult to eradicate, but all mold requires moisture to grow, so reducing moisture will reduce mold growth.
Where Mold Grows:
Windowsills, closets, wall paper, flooring, in or around showers, dishwashers, washing machines, and even in the soil of potted plants.
Mold can be caused by slow dripping pipes, condensation, standing water on or under carpets and floor boards, leaky dryer vents, broken shingles and wet insulation.
Preventions and Control:
When water leaks, ACT QUICKLY. If you dry wet materials 24 – 48 hours after a leak or spill, mold will not grow in most cases.
Clean and repair roof gutters and leaky roofs regularly.
Point sprinklers away from the home and siding.
Make sure landscapes slope away from your home’s foundation so water doesn’t collect.
Keep relative indoor humidity low, if possible below 60 percent. Humidity is measured most accurately with a moisture meter, a small $10 - $50 instrument found at most hardware stores.
Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers regularly.
Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering and up to 10 minutes afterward.
Use exhaust fans or open widows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or even washing dishes.
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