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What is mold

What Is Mold and How Does It Affect Human Health?

Mold is a type of fungal growth that thrives on moist and warm conditions. Its purpose is to break down aminal and plant matter in the environment. While it is necessary in nature, it can also grow indoors, causing harm to our health.

This fungus reproduces through spores. These spores are similar to seeds but invisible to the naked eye. They can spread through the air, water, objects, people, or animals.

Mold requires food, water, oxygen, and an optimal temperature to grow. When all of these conditions are met, these clusters of spores start to reproduce on surfaces. That’s when they become visible to the human eye. Keep in mind that even without these conditions, spores can still survive in a dormant state. So, when the ideal conditions are met, they can throve into a mold colony.

While mold is commonly black, grey, or dark green, it can also be brown, orange, purple, red, or even a combination of colors. It produces a musty odor and can grow in all outdoor and indoor environments, including paper and wood products, bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and synthetic material like paint and textiles.

Mold cannot digest inorganic material such as glass and metal. However, it can grow on the dust and dirt that accumulates on them, which is why you can often find it on roofs and sidings.

Types of Mold

Experts estimate that there are over 100,000 different types of mold, and each one of them has its own growth patterns and characteristics.

Harmful types can be classified in the following three categories:

  • Allergenic: This is the type that causes allergies and allergic reactions such as coughing, sneezing, skin irritation, headaches, and asthma attacks. Some varieties include Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Penicillium.
  • Pathogenic: These are fungi that can cause an infection or disease in humans or other living organisms. Common pathogenic species includes Cryptococcus neoformans and Histoplasma capsulatum.
  • Toxigenic: Sometimes referred to as ‘toxic mold’ or the ‘black mold,’ it produces toxic substances that can lead to deadly health conditions. Commonly found toxigenic types include Fusarium species, Aspergillus species, and Stachybotrys chartarum.

Is Mold Dangerous?

Apart from the damage that mold causes on surfaces, it can pose health problems that can range from mild to severe.

Because it is tiny and light, it becomes airborne, which can easily be inhaled by anyone. Not everyone exposed to it experiences mold-related diseases, but some are more sensitive than others, including the very young, the elderly, and those with an existing respiratory problem or a weakened immune system.

What Are the Most Effective Mold Removal Techniques?

There are many commercial products available in the market that are believed to be effective for mold removal. The issue is that many of them contain harsh chemicals that can be as harmful as the mold itself.

Due to that, many people resort to DIY mold remediation. The most common products are borax, baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, and lemon. The problem with these techniques is that you may be able to get rid of the mold visually, but the spores are still very much present in the environment. This means that after a few weeks of cleaning, there is a big possibility that the it will re-grow if certain conditions are met.

Furthermore, mold remediation is a challenging process. Even if you clean well, use good de-humidifiers and maintain adequate ventilation, it can grow in so many places that are out of sight that noticing or locating it can be difficult.

So, even if you miss a little bit, it will continue to grow and spread in no time. This increases the risk of mold-related illnesses.

Therefore, the affected area exceeds 10 square feet, for your safety, it’s best to hire a mold remediation professional. They will be able to remove all the visible growth as well as the spores more effectively.

But, if you’re dealing with a small amount, consider UV light.

Can UV Light Kill Mold?

Have you wondered why mold usually grows in dark and shaded areas and never in places that get plenty of sunlight?  That’s because the germ-killing power of sunlight isn’t reaching them. UV-C light brings the same power of the sun indoors.

In addition to water purification and disinfection for bacteria and viruses, one of the many applications of UV-C light includes mold elimination. UV-C light destroys pathogens including mold without requiring additional chemicals. It penetrates into the nuclei of the bacteria and changes their DNA arrangement. This defects in the mold’s ability to reproduce. Since it’s unable to reproduce, it will eventually lead to the cell’s death.

UV light can eliminate up to 99.99% of any bacteria and pathogens of the area that the UV-C light touches. This includes small, hard-to-clean parts of areas where it’s hard for chemical disinfection to reach. All you need to do is ensure that you shine UV-C light at the surface for the time required to disinfect it.

Always keep in mind that UV-C light is can destroy any DNA and RNA, including yours. It can be dangerous for your skin and eyes. So, when using a UV cleanser, please make sure you’re wearing goggles and wearing gloves.

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