Mold is a natural part of our environment. It is in every breath of air we breathe and every part of our homes, businesses, and lives. The mere presence of mold in our environment is normal! In fact, unless you are in a scientifically controlled laboratory setting, it is impossible to have a “zero” or “mold-free” space, inside or out.
What is not normal is having it grow in the indoor environment. Since mold is a naturally occurring living organism, it is virtually impossible to remove entirely; thereby a correct scale would be Acceptable or Elevated levels of mold. Acceptable levels are at which humans will not experience adverse effects. Elevated levels at any amount require immediate attention. Children, those with chronic conditions (such as COPD) and the elderly are especially affected by mold exposure.
“Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.” (epa.gov)
You may wonder why mold remediation has become necessary in recent years. There are actually several factors. Awareness has increased, and health conditions not previously understood have now been attributed to mold exposure and building techniques have changed. Buildings that were constructed “loose” in years past have now become the energy efficient (“tight”) buildings we know today. Building materials have also changed, allowing more cellulosic materials to be used. These factors, along with way we use our homes sometimes contribute to increased moisture levels, creating a perfect environment for mold to grow.