Mold Is All Around Us
Mold occurs naturally in our environment. We all live with some exposure to it. Though mold is typically not a major cause of serious health problems, it can cause or aggravate various respiratory diseases such as asthma, fungal lung infections, bronchitis, and allergies. People with immune suppression and chronic illnesses such as obstructive lung disease are especially susceptible. Symptoms of adverse reactions to mold include:
- Respiratory problems such as wheezing
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- Dry cough
- Nose and throat irritation
- Shortness of breath
- Skin irritation
- Aches and pains
In addition, some molds contain mycotoxins which may present a greater hazard than that of allergenic or irritative molds.
You'll Probably Know If You Have a Problem
The Tulsa Health Department does not provide testing for the presence or type of mold in homes, schools or businesses. Though some private firms provide this service, determining the types of mold present does not affect corrective measures. All molds should be considered the same when it comes to potential health risks and removal.
You can usually tell on your own if you have a mold problem. Mold growth typically looks like a discoloration ranging from white to orange and green to brown and black. It has an earthy, musty smell. As a rule, if you can see or smell mold, you should take action to remove it and prevent recontamination.
Stop Moisture and You'll Stop Mold Problems
Mold requires moisture and organic material to grow. In most cases, mold can be removed by cleaning and disinfecting the area with a 10% bleach solution of bleach and water. (Remember, never mix bleach with ammonia, as harmful fumes may be released.) Porous materials permeated with mold such as sheet rock, ceiling tiles, carpet, and wood products may be removed and discarded. It is imperative that you identify and correct the mold's moisture source to prevent recontamination.
Currently, the Tulsa Health Department is unaware of any federal, state or local environmental or health regulations regarding mold contamination. As such, neither the THD, the Department of Environmental Quality, nor the Environmental Protection Agency can require a building or property owner to remediate mold problems.