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10 things you should know about mold

  • Published
  • By Capt. Mitzi Elliott
  • 20th Medical Group public health flight
Mold is a common problem in South Carolina and Shaw Air Force Base is no different.

The warm moist air outside condenses when in contact with cool, dry, air-conditioned air inside your home or work place. This moisture provides a perfect environment for mold growth.

During hot, summer weather, you will see more moldy areas than usual. Other than ugly appearance, typical mold is not a dangerous threat unless you have a specific allergy to it.

Mold will always be with us, but the best way to reduce it is with proper maintenance of air conditioners, keeping the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors moderate, and proper frequent cleanup of condensation.

Here are a few things everyone should know about mold and what to do about it:

1. There is no practical way to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor environment; the best way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

2. If mold becomes a problem in your household, dormitory, or work center, you must clean the affected area frequently and eliminate the source of the moisture.

3. If you have a leak or serious water problem you should have it repaired.

4. Reduce indoor humidity, to 30-60 percent, by venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers, increasing ventilation, and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, or cleaning. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours.

5. Hard surfaces such as tile or bathroom floors that may have mold growth will need to be cleaned with bleach and water. It is also important to ensure you dry the washed area completely. Hard to clean areas such as carpet or ceiling tile may need to be replaced if they accumulate mold.

6. Prevent condensation as much as possible. You can reduce this risk by adding insulation to windows, piping, and exterior walls, roof or floors; using a dehumidifier can also help.

7. Areas that are susceptible to leaks should not be carpeted.
8. Mold can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and food.

9. Mold will never completely go away. If there is a moist enough environment molds will grow.

10. Health effects from mold are rare unless you have a specific allergy to a particular mold. Symptoms would include asthma or exacerbation of another respiratory condition.

If you have any questions contact the public health office, (803)-895-6193.