All about mold

Ken Duvall

What is a four-letter word that starts with “M”? How about mold? This invasive fungus is ubiquitous in our lives. In fact, we cannot live without it. Why, you may ask. Mold is the waste management agent of the earth. Its basic duty is to break down organic matter. Molds are the source for many of our daily medicines. Where would we be without Penicillin, for example? Mold spores are in every breath we take. Unless you are ill for other reasons, these air born spores are not going to be a problem.

The hard fact is we don’t need it growing inside our homes. Mold is an allergen much like pollen in the springtime. The biggest difference is mold can, and does, make one very sick!

Molds need water/moisture to survive and thrive along with a nutrient source. Don’t waste your time looking for a nutrient source in your home. Most everything is, and if it is not, the dust on it is!

I often hear the phrase “That isn’t mold, it’s just mildew.” Well, sorry to disillusion you, mildew is mold. I call mildew “politically correct mold.” There is one mildew and it is associated with the agricultural industry. The “mildew” you smell in the washing machine is mold. Sorry!

Okay, now what? The way to keep mold out of your indoor environment is to control moisture. In our neck of the woods (what woods? you ask) humidity is not an issue. Over 65 percent relative humidity is enough moisture in the air to colonize or sustain mold growth. If you should unfortunately discover mold growth inside your home, please do not clean it with bleach. The bleach routine was debunked in November 1999. Unfortunately, the word did not get out to the multitudes. In fact, as of today, I still find remediation companies advocating “spraying it with bleach.” There is only one way to get rid of mold. Get rid of what it is growing on. Drywall and paint are the most common surfaces for mold growth.

If you have encountered a water leak you have 72 hours to get the area thoroughly dried before the first molds will begin colonizing. Absolutely do not direct a fan onto the area. This will only spread the spores throughout your house, thus contaminating everything else.

Should you have a moisture/mold problem, thoroughly investigate the company you hire to do the remediation. Do not hire a company who also tests for mold. This is a conflict of interest and in many jurisdictions, unlawful! At Arizona Environmental Assessment I only do testing but may recommend three-four remediation companies.

Arizona Environmental Assessment is owned and operated by Creeker, Ken Duvall. Ken has been a board-certified indoor environmentalist since 2002 and has testified as an expert witness in California, Georgia, Florida and Texas on numerous occasions. Telephone consultations are at no cost as I am here to be of assistance. Call my mobile number 714-240-2993 seven days a week.