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Mold Facts and Fallacies

Please review the Facts and Fallacies below to help you make sure your home and workplace are safe.

FALLACY:  All molds are alike.
FACT:  Molds come in at least a thousand different varieties, but only a few are the offenders that invade our homes:
  1. Alternaria and Cladosporium are the molds most commonly found both indoors and outdoors throughout the United States.
  2. Aspergillus, Penicillium, Helminthosporium, Epicoccum, Fusarium, Mucor, Rhizopus, and Aureobasidium are also common.
  3. One of the most dangerous mold strains is Stachybotrys sp.(pronounced Stack-ee-BOT-ris), a black fungus that releases toxic microscopic spores. Some symptoms of Stachybotrys exposure may be irreversible.
FALLACY:  If my pets or members of my family have some of the symptoms, but I can not locate any of the wet areas they may be growing in, I should just ignore it.
FACT:  Often your pet(s) may ferret out the offending mold source under the carpet or behind the wall due to their exceptional olfactory sensories. You'll also want to contact a reputable licensed laboratory, such as AALI, at (505) 217-0333. Describe your problem and we'll send someone to inspect and take air samples. Within a very few days, we will analyze, interpret the results, and help solve your problem.
FALLACY:  There's nothing that can be done when you discover mold.
FACT:  When excess mold growth occurs, exposure of individuals, and remediation of the moisture problem must be addressed. Initially, fixing the leak, followed by wiping up the slimy black mold thoroughly with Clorox is recommended. Such abatement activities should be conducted under controlled air conditions to assure that the mold spores do not contaminate unneccarily other areas of the residence or facility.
FALLACY:  There is no special time to be wary of exposure to toxins from molds.
FACT:  Molds are most prevalent from spring through late fall, but in warm climates molds thrive all year and can cause year-round problems.
FALLACY:  Unless you see and touch the mold, you can't become sick.
FACT:  Millions of spores from mold become airborne, which can easily be inhaled by both humans and animals. Typical symptoms involve coughing up blood and frequent nosebleeds in infants. In adults, symptoms may be allergies that can lead to asthma or to a lung disease, wheezing, low-grade fever, and coughing up of brown mucus, infections, mucous membrane and sensory irritation, lesions and toxicity alone or in combination.
FALLACY:  Although exposure to some molds can make people uncomfortable and even sick, people seldom die.
FACT:  Infants have been known to die and adults to become quite ill due to the presence of the Stachybotrys atra mold in homes and offices. This form of mold grows in areas which are constantly wet, such as leaking roofs and plumbing, sewer backups, and frequently overflowing washing machines. A few years ago, 30 children in Cleveland were exposed to mold and cigarette smoke. They all suffered from bleeding of the lungs, and nine children died.
FALLACY:  Mold, which is a form of fungus, reproduces into spores that germinate into new mold growth, which is seldom found in the arid southwest.
FACT:  Molds can be found wherever there is moisture, oxygen, warmth and something to feed on. In the fall they grow on rotting logs and fallen leaves, especially in moist, shady areas. In gardens, they can be found in compost piles and on certain grasses and weeds. Molds grow in our homes in moist warm areas like damp basements, closets, and bathrooms. Also molds can grow in places where fresh food is stored, refrigerator drip trays, houseplants, humidifiers, garbage pails, mattresses, upholstered furniture, or foam rubber pillows. Molds can grow inside the walls and flooring of our homes, wherever there are wet cellulose materials they can feed on, such as wood, ceiling tiles, or plasterboard.

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