September is Mold Awareness Month. It is also called “National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month“.
A recent study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), estimated 50 percent of US schools have poor indoor air quality. It is estimated that 500,000 deaths occur every year because of exposure to indoor toxic mold.
Mold Awareness Month is about educating the public about toxic molds
Mold problems can be a serious issue. This is why the EPA dedicates each September to educate homeowners, families and schools about toxic molds. People need to learn the financial and health related effects of mold and how to best prevent mold.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, water and mold damage cost insurers approximately $2.5 billion annually. Consider the following:
- There are aproximately 10,000 mold-related court cases in the US
- Over the past 5 years mold contamination cases have risen by 300%
- Mold removal is expensive. The average mold claims are about $35,000 on average. Some claims are in excess of $100,000.
Harvard stwudies show 40 to 50% of homes have home moisture and mold problems. These are serious enough to significantly increase respiratory symptoms among occupants. New homes usually have poorer air quality than older homes. New houses are air tight, so spores can’t escape, providing a perfect breeding ground.
A Reader’s Digest poll for mold awareness month ranked mold as the 2nd greatest concern for homeowners. More threatening than lead paint and pesticides. The EPA found that the average home can have two to five times more contaminants than outside air. They estimate Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors.
Mold needs four things in order to grow. Food, moisture, oxygen and temperature between 41 and 104 degrees. It is almost impossible to eliminate the potential for molds. Mold spores can infiltrate an environment unless you control these elements.
Mold can be prevented and treated by paying attention to the details. Design, construction and maintenance are all involved. Mold awareness month is intended to help combat mold, mildew, and moisture issues. We suggest:
- Monitor indoor humidity indoors. It should be below 55 percent.
- Identify problem areas in the home and correct them
- Use mold-resistant products
- Improve airflow
- Test for mold with a Do-It-Yourself test kit
- You have one to two days to dry up a water intrusion before mold may grow
- Clean and repair roof gutters and leaky roofs
- Don’t let water collect near the house foundation. Slope the landscape away from the house
- Use a dehumidifier as needed
- Use bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans or open widows when showering, cooking, and washing dishes.