THE BLOG

Mold: A Fiend Who Appears Like a Harmless Friend

28/10/2014 11:00 GMT | Updated 28/12/2014 10:59 GMT

While there are some opinions that mold (or mould) is harmless, there are umpteen testimonies by people who have been affected by mold growing in their homes, that molds can cause more than a decorative destruction. How does science even begin to look at something that grows organically, but can cause more than health hazards? It can only be proven through experiments and detailed research into the issue.

Let's understand what is mold, the causes and the remedies before going into methods that can rescue people from health hazards that occur as a result of this spotted growth on substances. Molds are various kinds of fungi that grow in filaments and reproduce in quick successions by causing spores. There is a term that explains them well, and the term sounds so sweet that you would rather want to have molds grow all over your place, just to say that word again and again. 'Mildew' is the name that describes some kinds of molds that grow within a place of inhabitance.

Not all types of mold are harmful. The greenish black spores that sprout up within residences, flats, homes, offices, basements and on any organic matter like food or clothes etc are said to pose some health hazards. This apart, when molds grow indoors, they also weaken the structures that are mostly made of organic matter such as basements with wooden floors, bathrooms with wooden planks and storage areas.

But, there are other kinds of molds that are more constructive than destructive.

Like the molds that grow in open areas, during damp rainy or winter season, actually help decomposing the dead organic matter such as trees, leaves, paper, saw dust, compost etc.

There have been cases in the field of medicine where patients have called it a sickness trigged by molds. Some even give it a very candid nomenclature 'mold sickness' that explains it all. People have reported with severe breathing problems to test for tumors or growth inside their lungs that have required operations and such infectious growth that's called 'black mold poisoning'!

Adam Pacha , CEO of US based Moldinspectionandtest, says "Living or working in a building with elevated mold spores for an extended period of time can definitely be hazardous to your health. Anyone in this field will tell you that if the problem is bad enough, you can start to experience acute symptoms almost immediately. At the same time there is a big difference between a serious problem that needs to be handled by professionals and something that can be taken care of rather easily."

How does one deal with this problem? Spotting a mold upon growth is one thing. Avoiding it from growing indoors by keeping the place well aerated is another. But, how do you know your humble abode is 'mold safe' so that you can take precautions to curb its growth, so that you can save thousands of dollars on visiting your health practitioner later?

In US, there are agencies that investigate and certify a house/office to be mold safe. But that is at the initial level. How do you deal with it when you already see those menacing black spots in corners of your house? Do you need testing then?

Answer is, yes, you very much need to investigate it. Because when a mold investigation team arrives, you will not only understand about the spreading pattern of mold, but the team will also tell you about the ambient air quality of your house that can be a cause of concern, if ignored. Because, a visible growth is something that happens as a tip of the whole iceberg which does not appear otherwise.

In Britain, there have been arguments that have dismissed the presence of mold or any mold originated disorder. However, this is still an open argument in the presence of evidences and testimonies to understand how America has been tackling the problem with efficiently trained teams that have been fighting hard to keep homes and offices safe from this growth. Even the government has stepped up efforts on this front creating awareness among its citizens.

Nations like Britain which often experience damp winters for most part of the year may well know molds are a serious health hazard for any nation. To dismiss it as a 'natural growth' can only make the situation more grave. Prevention is better than cure, haven't we heard? Even if it means that Britons would be spending some money on making their homes mold-free when it is okay to ignore it, isn't it better to be safe than sorry?