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Okay, a lot has been written about mold, enough for us all to know that it is a natural part of our outdoor environment. Mold acts as Mother Nature's recycling system, breaking down dead organic material from plants and animals. We encounter mold, and even inhale its spores, almost every day, and yet we all feel just fine and dandy, thank you. We also know that mold may also occur in our homes and businesses, and in these cases it is not at all uncommon for those inhabitants of those structures to begin suffering from allergic reactions, itchy and watery eyes, skin irritations, and respiratory issues.

We also know that mold growth on a structure can have dire results, up to and including the structure having to be demolished altogether. Homes, businesses, even entire city blocks have been condemned for no other reason than out of control mold. So why the difference? Why is mold relatively harmless outdoors but such a considerable threat indoors?

Well, the answer is in the word "indoors". Mold reproduces by way of spores, tiny, almost microscopic organisms that float through the air until they land on a surface that is ripe for them to grow on, namely a surface that is warm and damp. Mold feeds off moisture like humans do off vegetables, and it only takes a sufficient amount of excess humidity to allow the problem to set in and begin growing. Moisture that occurs in interior scenarios is far more likely to remain that way than what is found outdoors. Interior humidity is almost always a running problem, requiring some proactive measures to clean up. Mold will continue to grow and spread for as long as there is moisture to sustain it. An overly damp basement, a leak crawlspace, or a roof leaking into a musty attic are prime breeding grounds for all kinds of mold.

But what about inhaling mold? Didn't I just say we inhale mold every day with no problems? So why does that magically change when the mold is in our homes? Well, there's nothing magical about it. Mold spores in an outdoor environment may be occasionally inhaled by humans or animals, but it is in relatively small amounts and our immune systems take care of any threat those spores may present. When mold occurs inside, however, it is another story. Mold in your basement, for example, will still continue to produce spores. Instead of being dispersed over a wide area, as happens outdoors, the mold spores remain concentrated in one small area, and anyone working in that area may end up inhaling mold spores in large concentrations. Given mold's basic job is to break down organic matter; it isn't hard to see why such a scenario could prove dangerous to one's health.

In addition, people with weak or compromised immune systems, such as young children or the elderly, are also at a heightened risk for health problems stemming from mold growth. For this reason, as well as those listed above, it is important for homes besieged with mold to receive proper treatment.

Mold remediation is the process of removing the mold growth from the property, as well as properly treating the affected area to make sure that the mold does not return. Unfortunately, too many so-called mold remediation companies stop after the first part, mistakenly believing that if they kill the mold, then their job is done. This is a mistake. Moisture and humidity created the mold problem in the first place, and if the mold is cleaned up but the moisture remains, then it is only a matter of time before the mold growth returns. It may actually return stronger, like some refugee from a B-grade horror movie, because it has had the opportunity to build up a measure of resistance to the mold killing chemicals and compounds that were initially used.

Yes, the mold needs to be killed and removed, and competent, qualified mold remediation contractors will have procedures in place designed to isolate the mold, kill it, and allow it to be removed without inadvertently spreading it to other areas of the home. When you consider that just touching mold may released hundreds of thousands of spores into the air, you can understand why dealing with mold calls for the softest possible touch.

Once the mold is gone, then the area must be properly treated, sanitizing and disinfecting the surfaces, bringing down the relative humidity levels, and eliminating any sources of moisture in the area. By making the environment unfriendly and unsupportive of mold growth, then you can have a reasonable assurance that you won't be dealing with the same problem twice.

Contact your local Clean Trust certified mold remediation contractor. They will have the training, education, and experience designed to handle even the largest cases of mold growth. They will also have the proper tools and techniques designed to address your mold problem, remove the growth, and make sure it will not return once they have gone. Always remember that a competent mold remediation company will be able to describe to you in detail their plan for removing the mold, as well as the follow up plan for preventing it from returning. Any company that only gives you the first part should be eliminated from your list. Yes, both steps cost a little more, but isn't it worth it to know you're living in a mold free home? Isn't that the best option for you and your loved ones?

Accredited by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification.

by Matt Staton

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