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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mission 9: Full circle, let's talk about mold?

So, taking from my most recent unpleasantness, I've decide to write some information here about molds.. Why? Because most apartment complexes made in the seventies have this issue, and a lot of them seem intent on doing nothing about it. My own complex is no exception, so here goes:

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.

Mold is a fuzzy growth on moist organic matter by several types of fungi. Mildew is mold growing on fabric.
The quantity of mold fragments and spores needed to cause health problems varies from person to person.  Besides inhalation, people can become exposed to mold through skin contact and eating moldy food.
Toxic molds can produce several toxic chemicals called mycotoxins that can damage your health. These chemicals are present on the spores and small mold fragments that are released into the air.
In high concentrations, mold fragments, spores, and mycotoxins can trigger symptoms even in individuals who have no allergies.
Molds reproduce by spreading microscopic spores. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on damp organic material, such as wood, paper, feathers, hair, cellulose, petroleum products, rubber, carpet, etc., they may begin growing and digesting the material.
Some molds live in temperatures below freezing, and some like it as warm as 122° F.  Molds primarily thrive and become a problem when the relative humidity level is above 60%, with temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees  F. (10 to 32 degrees C.)  and a pH from 3 to 8. Molds also tend to be more robust in poorly ventilated areas with little air movement to disrupt their growth.
There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to limit moisture. During humid weather, avoid excessive ventilation and use an air conditioners and/or dehumidifier to keep relative humidity below 60%. Sealing air leaks in the building's exterior and using a mechanical ventilation system to provide fresh filtered air can help to reduce entry of mold spores and make it easier to keep indoor relative humidity below 60%.
Indoor mold growth usually can be seen or smelled. In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is not needed. There are no health or exposure-based standards that individuals can use to evaluate a mold sample. The amount of mold it takes to cause illness varies from person to person.

Now the important one:

"Black Mold" is a term commonly used to describe a slimy, greenish-black substance which can result in serious health risk. This infamous mold is also known as Strachybotrys chartarum and more often as Strachybotrys atra. It has been closely linked to the death of babies from respiratory bleeding, and as a contributing factor to illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis. According to the CDC(Center of Disease Control), this mold is responsible for over "100 cases of lung disorders".

Virtually everyone has one type or another of mold somewhere in their home. Although not all types are toxic, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish types without lab testing. Thus it is imperative to treat and remove all molds as if they're potentially harmful. Regardless of the type of mold found, a home containing mold is not essentially a healthy home.

Mold spores are very easily transported to different areas by attaching themselves to various hosts. These hosts would include people, animals, shoes and they even enter through open windows and doors. The spores then thrive and grow where it is damp and moist. Very toxic molds can develop from water seepage, and while black mold is "less common than other mold species it is not rare".
Areas and substances where black mold can be found include water soaked wood, ceiling tiles, wall paneling, cardboard, even items made of cotton. Black mold can grow on drywall and insulation and can infest areas in the floors, walls and ceilings.

Moisture is essential to the growth of black mold, and when it is wet it is shiny in appearance. If you were to physically touch a spot of black mold, it would feel slimy and would smear on the area.

When you are contemplating clean up of black mold, you need to verify the extent of the problem. Many of the infested areas will be relatively small and be a result of small leaks or plumbing problems. After discovering the root of the problem and rectifying it, you can disinfect the area with bleach. A mixture of one cup bleach to a gallon of water is sufficient to disinfect the area. Apparently adding a touch of dish soap to the mixture will also aid in dissolving accumulated grease and dirt in the area.

You are to apply the bleach mixture to the moldy area and leave it to saturate the area for approximately fifteen minutes. After this you must take care to thoroughly dry the cleaned area.

Spores from dried mold are very dangerous and should be cleaned with caution. You should never scrape or scratch at dried mold as the spores would then be released into the air and pose an inhalation risk. A respiratory mask and eye protection are necessary and adequate clothing to prevent skin contact is recommended.

If the problem is more internal such as on insulation or throughout a carpet, the only solution is to remove and replace the items. As well an infested area of over 2ft is considered a "heavily infested" area and professional help should be consulted. Mold problems resulting from flooding should also be managed professionally to avoid possible health risk.

According to the CDC, there are some preventative measures you can personally take to battle black mold. The following are some of their suggestions; keep the humidity of the house down, make sure there is adequate ventilation inside the home(especially in the kitchen and bathroom), add mold inhibitors to new paint before painting, use mold killing products to clean and do not use carpet in the bathroom.

Black mold issues are something everyone should be aware of and know how to combat. Search through any news source and you will see that toxic mold is a common cause for school closings. If the school board will go through such measures to eradicate the problem then we should be just as cautious. It is also important to remember that like all other types of fungus, there are some people who may be more sensitive to the effects of black mold. People who have allergies, respiratory disease or any type of immune suppressing disease should be especially wary of this toxic mold.
Symptoms of black mold poisoning:
Common symptoms of black mold poisoning are:
  • Uneasiness in respiration
  • Headaches
  • Cough
  • Red eyes
  • Development of rashes and hives on skin
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • In some cases, people experience bleeding in lungs
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Lack in concentration
  • Problem caused due to irritation in mucous membranes
  • Asthma
  • Allergic reactions (such as itching of nose, runny nose etc.) of respiratory and/or nervous system etc
  • Irregularity in blood pressure
  • Damaged digestion and respiratory system
  • Infections of urinary track, problems in urination etc.
  • Pain in liver and other internal organs
  • High level or prolonged exposure to mold can lead to infertility in the patient

.If you like black widows.. mold.. and having car broken into..

From: -Anonymous-
Date posted: 5/5/2009
Years at this apartment: 2007 - 2008

My car was broken into multiple times.
I saw bums around a lot.
I see neighbors smoking weed and drinking alcohol in parking lot.
Im able to hear neighbors a lot. Its noisy.
There is this weird one that is always staring at me and sometimes mumbles stuff under his breath.. prejudice racial comments.. Its like hes timed my work schedule and comes out whenever i do, just to stare and acts like hes talking to someone on phone when hes not.. not great neighborhood. i pass by this street 1 street over.. whats with the evil name on street sign.. Hell Court ..
I noticed mold in air conditioner vents right after i moved in.. Under the shower door there was mold already with hair and other gunk stuck inside. After few months, the shower drain started smelling funky.. then started molding around windows, had to leave them open a lot and clean with bleach often. Really paranoid though when they are open because there are a lot of bugs outside and a lot of black widows right outside my windows/sliding door.. Ive seen them running around my apartment often enough =/ .. they told me they regularly do pest control on bugs but havent through whole year there.
My washer smelled like vomit throughout the whole year and they did not do anything about it..
I wouldnt recommend this place unless you could tolerate all of this.

Read more:

Learn all you can about black mold, and mold in general. How is it removed? What is the steps in true removal of molds?

Using your chosen super hero powers, how would you hero/heroine stop the black mold and issues with apartments not cleaning it?

With all the mold properly removed and apartments safer, how would the people react? Let us know!


  1. Holy cow...mold is a huge problem. really sucks that it's effecting you. Great idea for a topic though.

  2. Yuck. Mold is extremely disgustuing and it needs better ways of being prevented.

  3. Wow! Mold is in many places many construction works have to face this issues because they are taking down building everyday so they have to watch mold its very dangerous

  4. MOLD! What happens when your house is covered in black mold? Do you have to burn it down, or tear out the moldy bits? Very informative post! I have to admit, though, as I was reading the symptoms I became convinced that I have all of them (but I'm a bit of a hypochondriac).