What do you need to know about mold in your home?

Mold can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance if moisture is present. Mold can grow on wood, paper, carpet and food. Exposure to mold can cause cold-like symptoms, respiratory problems, nasal and sinus congestion, watery eyes, sore throat, coughing and skin irritations, and can trigger asthma attacks. Because some mold spores are very small and can easily be breathed deeply into the lungs, it is not safe to live in houses with high mold levels. Everyone should minimize their exposure to mold. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with existing respiratory sensitivities are at higher risk for adverse health effects from mold. Some people are affected when exposed to very little mold, while others may show no adverse health symptoms when exposed to mold. People can react to mold whether it is living or dead. If you can smell a musty odor or see mold, you have a mold problem. Testing is not generally recommended as a first step. Reliable sampling for mold can be expensive since it requires special equipment and training. Removing the mold should be your first action. For information on removing mold, review the EPA Mold Guide.