Molds are stains that appear in food or in the home, among other things, and correspond to the development of microscopic fungi. For this, they need favorable conditions: humidity (partitions, insulating material, false ceilings in particular.
The species of fungi that develop can be very varied (up to several million). reproduction, spores, which are found suspended in the air and are thus dispersed. Molds can also synthesize chemicals (mycotoxins or microbial volatile organic compounds) that will be contained in the spores or released into the air.
In Canada, the housing stock is aging: nearly 34% of housing was built between 1950 and 1973, while 55% of single-family homes have not been rehabilitated during the last 20 years.
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Is Humidity & Mold Growth Related?
Excessive humidity in the home has more or less important consequences. Humid environments favor the condensation, development and multiplication of bacteria, mites, molds, saltpeter, dry rot that invade walls and construction materials and pollute the environment. These consequences may seem minor, but sometimes hide bigger problems that will seriously damage your home.
Mold spores are ubiquitous in the air. As soon as they find the necessary moisture and nutrients, mold inevitably makes its appearance.
Three main causes are at the origin of mold:
- High humidity
An environment is generally considered to be high in humidity when the relative humidity is over 50%. It is advisable to maintain a relative humidity rate of 30% to 50%, variable according to the seasons. You should know that a humidity level that is too low is just as harmful to health. However, when the outside temperature is below -10 ° C, it is recommended to keep the relative humidity level close to 30%.
- Deficient ventilation
While similar to high humidity, poor ventilation is mostly about moisture build-up in an enclosed area. We think in particular of the basement or the bathroom. Poorly ventilated, humidity periodically accumulates there until the appearance of mold.
Molds are microscopic fungi that form halos or spots of different colors (green, blue, white, or black. An unpleasant odor is often present in the places where these fungi thrive. Mold appears when the humidity level of the room exceeds 65%, so they are mostly found in damp, poorly ventilated, or low-temperature areas. Now it is time to learn how serious health problems may arise if you don’t get rid of mold.
Also Read – Mold in Home – Symptoms, Problems & Prevention
The Health impact of molds: Findings
Molds emit spores containing allergens and irritants. It is when confined inside an enclosed space, such as a house, that these substances concentrate and become harmful to health.
The report confirms health effects related to molds:
- development of asthma in children, especially young children,
- worsening of respiratory symptoms linked to exposure to the fungus Penicillium,
- incidence of asthma in exposed adults in the workplace. It should be noted that these data come from Finland, a country that has recognized asthma in adults exposed in their workplace to humidity and mold as an occupational disease,
- increased risk of allergic rhinitis,
- neurological effects, specifically an impairment of cognitive function in the event of long-term exposure – over 2 years – of children from infancy
- development or exacerbation of respiratory allergies
Animal studies also show the role of inflammatory responses in inducing respiratory effects, the importance of sensitized/non sensitized status in the inflammatory response, cytotoxic (toxic to cells) effects associated with exposure to fungal metabolites.
Also, it should be noted an increased susceptibility of certain groups; children from birth, children and adults with asthma. Also individuals predisposed to more easily develop allergies (atopics) or with hypersensitivity, immunocompromised patients or patients with chronic respiratory pathologies.
Finally, populations potentially overexposed due to unfavorable socio-economic characteristics are also more concerned, particularly in the event of fuel poverty or over-occupancy of housing.
You should know that people exposed to mold react differently depending on their state of health. The most vulnerable are children, the elderly and people already suffering from specific health problems such as asthma, severe allergies, leukemia or AIDS.
Infants and children: a group at risk
Infants and children are more susceptible to mold for a number of reasons:
- immaturity of their immune system
- higher ventilation rate per unit body mass than adults
- their lungs are growing, so they would be more sensitive to inhaling mycotoxins
How to prevent indoor mold growth?
It is always better to prevent the appearance of mold than to remedy it. So is it better:
- Annually inspect the exterior of the residence, and more particularly the roof, gutters and drainage system;
- Keep the humidity level between 30% and 50%;
- Ensure good ventilation of rooms containing a source of humidity;
- Maintain heating and ventilation equipment in good condition;
Getting rid of mold
If the mold problem is already present in your home in toronto, it is better to take it step by step. You can go the DIY way, but it is recommended to get professional help and get mold removal in toronto.
- Limit frequent long showers.
- Turn on the fans when bathing, showering and cooking food.
- Make sure the dryer hose is securely connected to an outside outlet.
- Limit the use of the humidifier and carefully follow the maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer.
- Empty and clean the dehumidifier tank regularly. In summer, it is usually recommended to install it in the basement. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure proper operation.
- Make sure that the humidity in the air in the house is kept low enough to prevent condensation from forming (usually between 30% and 55%). Such Devices are used by mold inspection experts during the mold inspection & testing process, that measure humidity in the house (hygrometers) are inexpensively available at most hardware stores.
- Avoid storing firewood indoors.
- Ventilate adequately
- Open windows, if necessary, to ventilate the house.
- Make sure that the air exchanger or other ventilation system is used properly and follow the maintenance instructions.
Discover the source of humidity through an inspection
First of all, it is necessary to identify the extent of the contamination and, ideally, its cause. It is therefore a matter of visually inspecting for traces of mold and water or humidity accumulations.
The history of the building, as well as the description of any past situation involving water or humidity, should also be taken into account. However, if it is not possible to clearly identify the source, it is preferable to proceed with a free mold inspection in toronto alongwith Air Quality Testing in Toronto before getting rid of mold completely.
Decontaminate the affected areas
Depending on the importance and severity of the problem, decontamination can be done by the owner or by a professional. You have to seriously consider the risks of undertaking a large-scale project yourself:
- Contamination of less than one square meter
Even when maintaining a small area, it is recommended to wear a respiratory protection mask, gloves and protective goggles. Use a damp cloth and an all-purpose cleaner to clean up mildew. Raising dust should be avoided as much as possible. Make sure the area is dry after cleaning.
- Contamination of more than one square meter
For more important contamination, it is strongly advised to call in a specialized company. A professional will identify the source, decontaminate and correct the problem. You will be informed of the duration of the work, its impact on the daily lives of the occupants and the need for relocation, if necessary.
Only people involved in the cleanup should be in the contaminated area. The latter should also be isolated from the rest of the residence with plastic sheets in order to contain as much dust as possible.
Poor Indoor Air Quality Increases Mold Growth
Molds and fungi are natural parts of the environment and play an essential role in the decomposition of leaves, trees and plant debris. These microorganisms can enter a building directly or enter it in the form of airborne spores. In a home or building in Toronto, mold and fungus will usually lodge on walls, drywall such as gypsum board or plaster and furniture, fabrics, wallpaper, draperies, wall tiles, etc. The major cause of mold in Canada is its excess humidity in indoor air.
Moisture is the lifeblood of fungus and mold growth. This is why they are so often found in the basement, in the kitchen and in the washroom.
In modern buildings, the presence of mold can be caused by various factors, including:
- A flood.
- Leaks from the roof, the basement, or the piping.
- The waterproofing of the building preventing the evacuation of accumulated humidity.
- Sources of moisture such as showers, cooking appliances and the like.
- Excessive humidity.
It is important to identify and correct any cause of water accumulation or infiltration such as a broken pipe, flooding or sewer backup.
Clean affected surfaces promptly and discard damaged porous materials.
For small areas (a window sill, for example):
- remove stains with a clean cloth and an all-purpose cleaner. It is not recommended to use bleach.
- dry the surface well.
If the affected areas are large (more than 1 m 2 ), numerous, difficult to clean or if mold returns after cleaning:
- call on a specialized company. This will be able to better assess the extent of the work to be undertaken and help you detect and correct the source of the problem.
- discard porous and heavily water-damaged items.
- Precautions to be taken to protect yourself when cleaning
- In order to avoid unnecessary exposure to mold, it is recommended to wear.
- Protective glasses.
- Rubber gloves.
- A dust mask.
These items are available inexpensively at hardware stores.
Avoid cleaning when other people are in the room. This measure particularly concerns the most vulnerable, such as:
- The children.
- People with asthma or allergies.
Make sure to ventilate the premises well before allowing your loved ones to reenter them.
Related Post – How To Find Best Mold Removal Company in Toronto
Do I have to take an air quality test?
Health Canada, in agreement with other public health organizations, does not recommend testing the air for the presence of mold. An air test does not provide any health data and cannot address the possible cause of mold problems in the home. It is also not necessary to know the type of mold to eliminate it.
Since mold is a natural part of the environment, there are always mold spores in the air. Just finding these spores in the air does not necessarily indicate a problem. The best way to reduce the health risks associated with mold is to hire a UMC team to identify the sources of mold, eliminate them, and clean the mold.